fate of their brothers who had staid at home, kept in hiding, waiting for an opportunity to flee to foreign countries. Most of those who followed Kossuth to Kutahia and Bem to Aleppo eventually came to the United States to join, or to be joined later by, their fellow-exiles who had found refuge first in Turkey, Italy, France or England. Louis Kossuth himself was freed from his confinement in Kutahia by the United States and taken on board a national vessel. There was a veritable Hungarian cult in America in 1849 and the early fifties, which, when Kossuth reached New York harbor in December, 1851, “had become almost a frenzy.”

Since the Hungarians who, a decade later, offered their lives for the preservation of the American Union, came mainly from among these refugees, some observations on the character of this Hungarian immigration will not be out of place. It stands in a class by itself among all the immigrations of the nineteenth century. Its causes were purely political; its members came mostly from the middle and upper classes, and were thus superior in education and character to the average immigrant; they had received knowledge of self-government as an inheritance from their ancestors; they had seen actual service on the field of war; they were firm believers in democratic institutions, and they considered the United States as truly the Land of the Free.

Of course, there were many immigrants of other races in the same class, and the relations of the Hungarian, German, Bohemian and Polish refugees were very cordial, if not fraternal. But the other refugees were only a small minority of their countrymen who, particularly the Germans and the Irish, immigrated in the fifties in unprecedented numbers, being assisted therein by societies organized especially for that purpose. Some German dreamers even conceived fanciful plans


When Kossuth rode up Broadway, December 6, 1851

for making German states out of Missouri and Wisconsin.

The Hungarian immigration was entirely unorganized. The refugees generally arrived in small groups and, more often than not, met with a sympathetic reception, helpful advice or even financial assistance from noble-hearted Americans. Not unfrequently they were ceremoniously welcomed, entertained by the authorities, and lionized by Society. At first they hoped to be called back soon to take up anew the fight for the independence of their country, but before long they realized that events in Europe were drifting in an unfavorable direction for such action. Within a few years they were scattered all through the free states as farmers, engineers, journalists, lawyers, merchants, teachers, clerks, etc., ultimately attaining more or less success and becoming respected citizens of their several communities.

Very few of them settled in the slave-holding states, except Missouri, as they instinctively detested slavery and were unwilling to employ slave labor. Probably the most prominent of the refugees was Ladislaus Ujházy, the scion of a noble race, former Lord Lieutenant of Sáros County and Commissioner of the District of Komárom, who in America was generally called “Governor" Ujházy. He first founded an Hungarian settlement named New Buda in Iowa, but, having lost his wife there, moved to Texas where he and his children built their own house and cultivated their own land. He did not take part in the Civil War, having been appointed United States Consul at Ancona by President Lincoln in 1861.

Another distinguished refugee was Col. John Prágay who had been Adjutant-General of the Honvéd Army. He arrived in New York in December, 1849, and, assisted by a fellow-exile, Cornelius Fornet, immediately set himself to the task

top liberon for the ens of the to escaith his

of writing a history of the Hungarian Wars. This was the first English book on the subject, it had a wide circulation and, although necessarily imperfect and partizan, it was used as an authority in the subsequent flood of English literature dealing with the Hungarian question. Noble Prágay! He found an opportunity sooner than most of his fellows to offer his sword for the cause of liberty. He joined Narciso Lopez's ill-fated expedition for the liberation of Cuba, was severely wounded in the engagement at Las Pozas on the second anniversary of the surrender at Világos (August 13, 1851), and, to escape the ignominy of the garote, ended his life with his own hand before the Spanish soldiers could take him prisoner4.

II When the conflict between national unity and states' rights and between freedom and slavery came to an issue which could be fought out only on the field of battle, the Hungarians in America responded liberally to the call for volunteers. They came of a race proud of its military qualities; most of them, as we have seen, had taken part in the Hungarian War, some of them also in the Crimean and Austro-Italian Wars; they were devoted to the cause of liberty; they felt grateful for the sympathy shown their native land in its hour of distress and for the honors showered upon their late chief, Louis Kossuth. No wonder they were eager to enlist in the Union Army; no wonder they did useful, honorable and glorious service on the battlefield for their adopted country.

3 The Hungarian Revolution. By Johann Prágay. New York, G.

P. Putnam, 1850. 12-mo., 177 pp. An abridged German edition was simultaneously published by J. Helmich, New York, under the title Der Krieg in Ungarn.

4 A full account of this expedition by Louis Schlesinger, one of the participants, can be found in the Democratic Review for Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec., 1852. The final instalment of the series, dealing with the fate of some of the prisoners in Ceuta, was not published, because the magazine was discontinued.In Hungarian the matter is ably treated by Dr. Géza Kacziány in the Szabadság, Cleveland, Dec. 21, 1911. The Hungarians in the party were: John Prágay, as lieut.-general and chief-of-staff; Major Louis Schlesinger, Captain Radnics, Lieutenants Bontila. Eichler and Palánk, and Privates Biró, Nyikos and Virág.

As already stated, hardly any of them had settled in the slave-holding states; consequently, hardly any of them enlisted in the Confederate Army. In fact, the only Hungarian officer I have found record of on the southern side was B. Estván, Colonel of Cavalry. Having served in the Austrian Army under Radetzky in Italy and taken part in the Crimean War (presumably in the British Army) he could not well resist the call of his southern neighbors and friends to take up arms in behalf of their cause. But at heart he was a Unionist, and he ended his dilemma by resigning his commission as soon as he could do so with honor, and going to England. There he related his experiences in the South in an interesting book which was published in London, New York and Leipzig in 18635.

It would be interesting to know the number of Hungarians in the United States at the outbreak of the Civil War and the number of Hungarian soldiers in the Union Army. For the former we should naturally look to the census of 1860, but with disappointing results, for that census-at least as far as the nativity of the population is concerned—was not made up on scientific principles. Hungarians were not treated separately. and even Austria appeared only as a subdivision of “Germany." It is very likely that the Hungarjans were included among the 25,061 shown as Austrians, although—as Secretary of State Seward aptly remarked_there were no confessed Austrians in America. Nearly one-third of

5 War Pictures from the South. New York, Appleton's, 1863. 8.90 VUI, 352 pp. This is a cheap reprint of the London edition in two volumes. The German edition was dedicated to Gen. McClellana rather strange proceeding on the part of a Confederate officer.

6. “We meet everywhere here, in town and country, Italians, Hun: garians. Poles, Magyars, Jews and Germans, who have come to us from hot empire but no one has ever seen a confessed Austrian among us." Seward to Anson Burlingame (Minister to Vienna), April 13, 1861. in Ti, Diplomatic History of the War for the Union. Boston. 1884. Page 214.

s in the y look to the for that cenati

« ElőzőTovább »