By Bartholomew de Szemere
RACES INHABITING HUNGARY.
Hungarians – – – – 6,150,000
Germans – — – – 1,589,7 15
Croats – – – – — 993,995
Serbs – – – – – 1,193,095
Ruthenes – – — — – 589,870
Slovaks – — – – – 1,852,005
Wallachians – – – 2,374,472
Jews – – – – – 350,000
THE INHABITANTS 0F HUNGARY ACCORDING TO CREED.
Roman Catholics – – – – 7,125,000
Protestants – – – – 3,375,000
Orthodox Greeks – – – – 2,790,000
United Greeks – – – — 1,795,000
Unitarians – – – – 65,000
Jews – – – – — 350,000
You are undoubtedly acquainted with the significant expression of M. de Gortschakoff, after the war in the Crimea: “La Russie se recueille.” No words can be more applicable to the attitude which Hungary assumed ten years since, and persists in keeping. She has not since given, to all appearance, the least sign of her vitality and strength. Can she be dead? By no means. Why then was she alone silent while the Roumans and the Italians made heaven and earth resound with their cries? It was perhaps a mistake on her part; but, on the other hand, it may be suggested that she was unwilling to embroil questions, already most embarrassing, by raising new ones; for every people must wait its turn, and besides, she is right in expecting less from the support of foreigners than from her own vital force.
I will tell you, sir, what Hungary has been doing during these last ten years. She has been collecting her scattered thoughts, observing the progress of events, waiting till the new policy, raised on the ruins of the principles of 1848, should show itself clearly and distinctly, with all its logical consequences and in all its logical bearings.
At this present moment, the tree of the new doctrine is in full blossom; it is beginning to bear abundance of expected fruit. Princes, erewhile closely leagued against imaginary dangers, are now attacking each other in turns. The allies of yesterday become the enemies of to-morrow. Public opinion is getting bewildered, seeing that, in politics, the beaten track of secular traditions is everywhere forsaken. That is the sign of a new epoch. Within ten years everything has changed in Europe like a fairy scene.
The Czar Nicholas, the saviour of Austria and oppressor of Hungary, he who in 1849 thought himself master of the destinies of Europe, suddenly fell, expiating by his death the fault committed when, by his intervention in Hungary, he abandoned the only true Russian policy. His heir, among the princes of Europe, is Napoleon III., at the head of France, strongly concentrated. But here there is a distinction to be made, which is, that Napoleon III. has at the same time raised the flag of 1848, on which were inscribed the two sacred words independence and nationality. Immortal glory to him if he continues faithful to that flag! On that condition he will be all powerful in Europe. The Danubian principalities bear witness in his favour. At all events, the people, simple in their faith, have everywhere eagerly hailed those magic words, and if valleys and mountains have for a moment ceased to echo them, they are too fondly cherished in many hearts to be ever forgotten.
After ten years of expectation and suffering, Hungary beholds at last the dawn of a better ‘ day brightening the political horizon, or at least of a salutary change, both abroad, in the general political situation of Europe, and at home, in the relations existing between the different races within her borders.
Russia, in her turn, has been vanquished and humbled, as she had vanquished and humbled Hungary: it is therefore to, be supposed that she would not be willing, even if she were able, to interfere again in the affairs of Hungary. Austria, then, being separated from Russia by an impassable gulf, can no longer expect aid from her; she is, moreover, isolated from every European power. England herself has not only looked on with indifference while her old ally was stripped of her Italian provinces; but what is more, she is doing her best to render impossible the future restoration of Austrian influence in Italy. Prussia, on her side, if she is really sensible of her true interests, must take advantage of Austria’s embarrassments to secure, at her rival’s expense, the supremacy in Germany, under the penalty of seeing herself decline, morally and physically, if she does not constantly advance in the path of progress.
The noblest part in all these political complications has been played by France or rather by her emperor; all eyes are consequently turned towards him. He is the only sovereign who is really a man of action: he had a head to conceive and a hand to execute; his ideas have been matured by long reflection; his plans well laid in his inmost soul. It is he alone who conquered Russia in the Crimea, Austria in Italy.
Who could resist him? Here lies the cause of the uneasiness and mistrust which now prevails in the international relations of Europe. It is impossible to dispute the vast power of Napoleon III. The grand point is to know what are his ideas and his projects. Oppressed nations are inclined to augur well of him with regard to their own interests, after all he has done for the Roumans and the Italians; for if what he has guaranteed them be not absolute independence, most certainly it contains the germ of that blessing.
Such is the opinion of Hungary as to the general situation of Europe. She no longer fears a Russian intervention; she has a right to rely on the moral support of constitutional England. Prussia, faithful to her mission, will not contribute to augment the power of a dangerous rival. Finally, Hungary looks towards France with confidence. Thus, having to face Austria alone, she feels herself strong enough to resume the struggle, and claim her liberty and independence. She does not ask, and, which is a capital point, she no longer fears the intervention of a third party in her affairs. Now let us pass to another consideration.
It is more especially internal difficulties, the fatal results of the events of 1849, which have condemned Hungary during the last ten years to absolute inactivity. At that epoch everything in Hungary was changed ; nothing of what formerly existed was left standing: its boundaries, the integrity of its territory, its laws, its constitution with its political life, and even its manners and social life, underwent a complete transformation.
Before 1849, Hungary enjoyed the utmost political liberty, and in spite of the numerous dissensions among its inhabitants, there were but two political parties: the party of progress and the conservative party. The former wanted the responsibility of government to exist in fact, as in theory it always had existed amongst us; the liberty of the press, for a censorship had been established contrary to law; equality in everything, both civil and political, without distinction of classes, & c.
The conservative party was opposed to all this, and only consented to partial and inadequate concessions. The events of 1848 gave the ascendency to the liberal party (for I cannot call it democratic); but if, under the influence of circumstances, the conservative party accepted freely, and even with some degree of enthusiasm, the changes demanded by their opponents, some time afterwards, during the war of independence, they kept aloof as indifferent spectators, conduct which gave rise to deep distrust between the two parties after the great catastrophe. The conservatives accused the liberals of having ruined their common country by their political errors, and the latter recriminated by reproaching the conservatives with their indifference, and their absence at the final struggle, when it was a sacred duty to fight to the last gasp for the very existence of the nation.
Before 1849 the most complete harmony and the utmost toleration prevailed among the different religious sects, Roman Catholics, Greek Catholics of both Churches, Protestants of both This toleration was itself the fruit of our political liberty, confessions, Unitarians, and Jews. This toleration was itself the fruit of our political liberty, for these two liberties can only flourish or exist together.
I freely confess that in this lay the great merit of the Roman Catholic clergy, the richest and most privileged in Europe, but at the same time the most tolerant and most from the people, and without hypocritical affectation; freely mixing, like brothers, in the social life of their country-men, but with all due decency. Now, this fraternal concord did not suit the political views of the Austrian government, and for that reason it conceived the idea of the famous Concordat, the grand object of which was to engender among the Catholics a spirit of domination, and at the same time to sow the seeds of discord and distrust among the members of the other sects.
It is true that, owing to the enlightened and tolerant spirit of the Catholics, the government failed in its inhuman and anti Christian designs; for the superior clergy, as well as their. subordinates, beheld with repugnance this sacrifice of the independence of the Hungarian Church (similar to the Gallican Church, but of more ancient date) to the despotism of the court of Rome. Nevertheless, the non-Catholic population (nine millions and a half to seven millions of Catholics) began to take the alarm, and to look with mistrust on the sectaries of the Pope. They had reason to believe that the design was entertained, not only of Germanizing them, but also of driving them into the Roman Catholic Church. Perhaps they suspected that the Catholics, at least the clergy, were privy to this intrigue. There was consequently, between 1853 and 1857, a moment when it really seemed that this last remnant of the former harmony among the people of Hungary was about to disappear for ever.
This, however, is not all; I have yet to mention another, and still more formidable difficulty. Before 1848, the inhabitants of Hungary formed several castes: ecclesiastics, nobles, townspeople, and peasants, of which the first three alone enjoyed political rights. But please to observe, that the basis of this classification was neither race, nor religion, nor language; for there were nobles and ecclesiastics of all degrees, though Slaves, Roumans, or Germans, as there were peasants, though Hungarians. So much for individuals. As to what concerns the districts, the provinces, the groups of races, in fine, it is most important to know that all the privileged districts and provinces were inhabited, either by Slaves or Germans, as the Saxons of Transylvania, the Slaves of Croatia : the latter, for instance, under the Hungarian constitution, only paid one-half less taxes than the Hungarians. The Hungarians never reserved for themselves any exclusive privilege. So much as to the groups of races.
With respect to language, I may here state, that in past times, in Hungary, as elsewhere in Europe, the language of the supreme government was Latin, but always conjointly with Hungarian. It was not till some eighty years ago, when Joseph II., suppressing the use of the Latin idiom in public affairs, wanted to replace it by German, that the country made a bold stand to retain the Hungarian language in the official dignity which it had enjoyed for nine centuries before.
I say that the whole country insisted upon its continued use, not because it was the language of the conquerors, but because it was spoken by a far greater number of persons than any other idiom; because it was the only one which had been sufficiently cultivated to answer the purpose; because it was the language of the privileged class who enjoyed political rights; because it was spoken and understood by at least nine millions out of fifteen; because, in fine, it was the universal feeling, to such an extent that, in 1830, the Croats themselves petitioned the Diet to pass a law providing that the Hungarian language should be taught at the Academy of Zagreb, the capital of Croatia.
It was therefore considerations of general interest, as well as historical, intellectual, and ethnographic, which justified the adoption of this course, especially as during the previous thirty years the Latin language had ceased to be the medium of instruction in schools, and the number of those who understood it was but some ten thousand in a population of fifteen millions. Here perhaps it may be asked, How then do you account for the rising of the Slaves, the Roumans, the Germans, against the cause defended by the Hungarians in 1848? That is the very feature of our revolution most frequently misunderstood, but only by those who, knowing the facts, close their eyes against evidence, and those who are unacquainted with our country as it was before 1848.
In the first place, one important fact must be made known; which is, that out of 2,400,000 Roumans, there were 1,500,000 ; out of 1,500,000 Germans, 1,250,000; and out of 4,700,000 Slaves, 3,000,000, who could not be induced by any means of persuasion, nor even by force, to take arms against us; on the contrary, most of them voluntarily joined our standard. The truth may, however, be found on a careful analysis of the elements of a movement apparently inexplicable; and by accurately distinguishing the motives of the men who commanded, from the motives of the mass of the populations who generally suffer themselves to be guided either by craft or by force.
They who directed the reactionary movement were nearly all Austrian generals and other officers, acting under secret instructions, and provided with arms and money by the court of Vienna. In Slavonia and Croatia, there was General Jellacsics; in the Bannat, General Supplikatz; in Transylvania, General Puehner. These men were only the blind instruments of the Court camarilla. But the people ought never to be so judged; for even when in error, they will always be found to have acted on noble and generous impulses.
Therefore, though it is an indisputable fact that the Croats were as soldiers brutally compelled to march against the Hungarians; that the Serbs, aided by 20,000 foreign Serbs brought from Servia, contrary to international law, never thought of anything else but extirpating the other races to possess their lands; that the Roumans were only inspired by their brethren of the Danubian principalities, who were anxious to enlarge their State at our expense; it must, however, be confessed that at this period of febrile excitement of the national sentiment, all the races looked forward to a glorious future, and under the lying flag raised by perfidious Austria, they despised the constitutional and national liberty which they enjoyed in Hungary. Thus the petty country of Croatia, poor and powerless as it is, aspired to found an independent kingdom; the Woiwodian wanted to be incorporated in the future Servian empire, as yet unknown; and the Roumans aspired to become a part of a Daco-Roumania, which may perhaps be formed some day, but which has never existed yet.
What a sad awakening for them all after the fatal fratricidal struggle! Before their wretched triumph they had everything: political and national liberty (for the Hungarian element had absorbed nothing by force during ten centuries), and now they have lost everything. Add to this their despair on seeing Austria, though victorious, inclined to spare the Hungarians, whose power she still dreaded even after defeat, whilst she showed no such disposition towards her allies, the Slaves and Roumans, whom she treacherously deceived.
The blindness of the Slaves and Wallachian races in this conjuncture is beyond all conception. They had only to open their eyes and turn them towards their brothers existing in Europe, to see the great historical fact, that ever since the fall of Poland, all the Slaves, with the single exception of those inhabiting Little Servia, and since Bajazet (1512), all the Wallachians, are everywhere oppressed,— in Russia, in Austria, in Turkey. There was only one country in Europe, and that was Hungary, where the Slave and the Wallak races enjoyed constitutional liberty, and could, if they wished, freely cultivate their own languages and retain their national customs.
I again ask, how could they overlook this fact so evident, so palpable, so indisputable?
It is easy to conceive that, in such circumstances, the cordial fraternity which previously existed between the different races was first changed into hatred and afterwards into sullen mistrust. Children of the same country, as they were, they nevertheless long looked upon each other as enemies. This was one of the worst consequences of the war; it was the greatest internal difficulty to be overcome in Hungary, and Austria endeavoured, but in vain, to turn it to her advantage. At last, after ten years of sufferings, these races are getting reconciled : one confesses its errors, the other pardons them; those who disowned each other when free, have become friends again in slavery; and now they are profoundly convinced that the liberty and nationality lost by discord can only be recovered by a return to the concord of former times.
Such, sir, are the principal internal and external difficulties which have hitherto imperiously condemned Hungary to absolute inactivity. Before moving, its people must become reconciled. At present that point is gained ; if they act together, nothing can resist them; their success is certain. Austria, even with the aid of Russia, only conquered Hungary when torn by discord; she can never master Hungary when united.
Thus we have seen Hungary at three different epochs.
In 1849, heroically struggling against two empires; subsequently, in her humiliation, we have seen her silent, taciturn, nobly suffering, prudently endeavouring to ascertain the exact nature of her new condition. This was the epoch of calm reflection; now, the old concord being restored in her bosom, she is beginning to act.
You ask me, what Hungary wants? To this question I answer:—
She wants, in general, all that a nation, conscious of its dignity and worth, has the right, and is in duty bound to require. She wants, in particular, that liberty and those political institutions which are hers in virtue of ancient laws, in virtue of special and solemn treaties, consecrating the conditions under which she offered the sovereignty to the dynasty, and which on its side, accepted, signed, and promised on oath to observe faithfully; consequently, between the nation and the dynasty here was a synallagmatic contract, which could not be annulled by either of the parties, without also liberating the other from its obligations.
Perhaps you would like to know the nature and conditions of this pact, which was the legal and sole basis of the union binding Hungary to the House of Hapsburg.
Ferdinand I. was the first Hungarian sovereign of the House of Hapsburg. He ascended the throne in 1526, not as a conqueror, but in consequence of the free choice of the nation, as did also his successors, Maximilian, Rodolph I., Mathias II., Ferdinand II., III., and IV. It was not till Leopold I., in 1687, that the crown of Hungary became hereditary in the dynasty pursuant to a law voted by the Diet; and by another law voted in 1723, and called the Pragmatic Sanction, the succession was extended to the female descendants of the Hapsburgs.
There were four kinds of guarantees by which Hungary thought it necessary to secure her liberties and independence, as against the dynasty.
The first of these guarantees was the royal oath.
At the king’s coronation it was not the nation who took an oath of fealty, but, it was the sovereign who swore to observe the constitution. The oath was couched in the following terms:—
“We swear by the living God, the Holy Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, and by all the saints, that we will maintain the Church of God, the prelates, the barons, the nobles, the free towns, and all the inhabitants of the kingdom in their liberties, immunities, rights, and franchises, their hereditary estates and their established customs; that we will do justice to everybody, that we will maintain the decree of King Andrew, of happy memory; that we will never alienate, or diminish the territory of our kingdom of Hungary, nor what rightly belongs to it by any title whatever; but, on the contrary. we will strive to increase and extend it by all the means in our power; and that we will do for the public good and the glory and happiness of the States, and of all Hungary, whatever we can justly and equitably do. So help us God, and all the saints and elect of the Lord.”
The second guarantee of our constitution, no less important, was the diploma of coronation.From Ferdinand II. (1682) down to our own times, not one of our kings was crowned before he had delivered a diploma, bearing his great seal and signature, which might be regarded as a pact personally concluded with the nation. The following are its principal points.
1. That the king shall maintain in full vigour all the laws and all the rights of the kingdom, as well as the pacts concluded between him and the nation.
2. That public affairs shall be decided solely by the Diet; that none but Hungarians shall take any part in the government of the country, or be named officers or commanders in the Hungarian army.
3. That no Hungarian citizen shall be tried by other judges than those constituted by the laws, and that no Hungarian shall ever be compelled to appear before any tribunal whatever sitting beyond the limits of the kingdom.
4. That the king shall always maintain inviolable the integrity of the territory of the State.
5. That he shall observe the laws by which he is forbidden to bring any foreign army into the kingdom [as he did the Russians in 1849], or to declare any war or conclude any treaty of peace without the previous consent of the Diet. ‘
6. It is further stipulated by the last article that all the successors of the king shall sign a similar diploma before they can be crowned.
The third guarantee of our independence consisted in several treaties of peace concluded between the reigning dynasty and the nation.
During the three centuries (1526-1848) which followed the accession of the Hapsburgs to the crown of Hungary, the nation was several times compelled to take arms for the defence of its existence and its constitution, and never till our own days (in 1849) did the Hapsburgs succeed in pacifying Hungary otherwise than by negotiating. All the insurrections therefore ended in treaties of peace, such as those of Vienna in 1606, of Nicolsburg in 1622, of Posony in 1628, of Lintz in 1645, and of Szathmar-Németi in 1711. The belligerent parties, the nation and the dynasty, were always two independent powers negotiating together.
History offers few instances of such treaties between a people and its sovereign.
And there is no nation whose history contains so many instances as ours.
All our rights were guaranteed by each of these treaties : they were so many ramparts against encroachments of absolute power.By such means as these Hungary always strove to avoid revolutions.
The kings of France, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, figure on many pages of the history of our wars of independence, sometimes as allies, sometimes as mediators. Several of our treaties with the Austrian dynasty were concluded under the influence and guarantee of France, England, Sweden, and Holland — a fact which must give a European importance to the question raised between the Hapsburgs and Hungary and which, in 1849, encouraged us to hope that Europe would, as she was bound to do, prevent the Russian intervention in Hungary from taking place.
The fourth guarantee of our institution existed in our laws generally (Corpus Juris).
There certainly does not exist any nation whose codes contain so many constitutional guarantees.
I will instance only a few of them.
1. By Article IV., of the year 1687, it is solemnly declared that the king and his heirs are indispensably engaged to maintain the states general of the country in all their rights, liberties, and franchises.
2. Article III, of the year 1715, says: “That the king shall only govern according to existing laws, or according to those which shall be thereafter made and voted by the Diet ;” that, consequently, Hungary shall never be governed on the same system established in other countries under the same dynasty, and that Hungary shall never undergo any diminution of territory.
3. Article XI., of the year 1741, ordains— that everything concerning Hungary shall be discussed, decided, and executed by Hungarians only (that is, natives of the country), both at court and in the council.
4. By several laws passed in 1790, it is expressly stipulated—
That the Diets shall be regularly and freely convoked;
That the legislative power, composed of the sovereign and the nation conjointly, has alone the right to make, interpret, and abrogate laws, and that this form of legislation shall be maintained and respected by the king, and for ever transmitted from father to son without change;That the kingdom shall never be governed by royal ordinances, and that the king shall not arbitrarily introduce any change relative to the administration, especially in the administration of justice, and that if he attempted to do so, the tribunals would not be bound to obey his orders;
That notwithstanding the change introduced, relative to the succession, by the Pragmatic Sanction (1783), Hungary remains a free and independent kingdom as to the form and system of its government, that it shall never be made subordinate to any other country, and shall invariably retain its constitution, and be governed by kings legally crowned, in accordance with its own laws and customs, and not after the manner of the other countries subject to the same dynasty;
That it is strictly obligatory for the king to be crowned before the expiration of six months after his accession (I may here observe that the coronation implies the signing of the diploma and taking the oath to the constitution as above stated), and that all the privileges and rights emanating from a king who has not been crowned are null and void in law.
When the Hapsburgs took the title of Emperor of Austria, the change made no difference in our relations with them nor with the other states. It will be sufficient to quote on this subject a passage from the manifesto of Francis 1., dated 15th of August, 1804, in which, after announcing his new title, he makes, before the whole world, the following declaration on our account:—
“That our kingdoms, principalities, and provinces shall invariably retain their titles, constitutions, and prerogatives, as they at present exist; that this is especially the case with our Kingdom of Hungary; as to the coronations that have been celebrated for ourselves and our predecessors as kings of Hungary, it shall always be invariably the same as in times past.”
But you may ask me here if the position of Hungary, with regard to its dynasty, has not been totally changed by the events of 1848 and 1849?
That question appears superfluous, but I will not avoid it, as a few lines will suffice to answer. I therefore say— .
1. That the reforms which took place in Hungary in 1848 were not the result of revolutionary measures, but were adopted and introduced in the most legal manner, discussed and voted by the two Chambers, accepted and sanctioned by the King Ferdinand V. That sovereign went of his own accord to Posony (Presburg), where the two Chambers sat, to sanction in person the laws he had accepted while still at Vienna, when order and tranquillity prevailed throughout Hungary.
2. That, although the laws of 1848 changed the denominations of certain public functions, they did not in any way affect the relations of Hungary with the dynasty, and they were only the simple confirmation of our rights, guaranteed already by laws which had been long in existence.
3. That Hungary did not have recourse to arms till the king had already caused her territory to be invaded by a general provided with secret instructions, and not before the said general had arrived within a few leagues of the capital of Hungary, where the Diet was sitting, which had been convoked by the king himself.
4. That even on the invasion of Hungary by a second army, in December, 1848, the Diet, then sitting at Pesth, sent messengers of peace to the general-in-chief of the Austrian army, who not only refused to receive them,
But had them arrested, and one of them was shot some time afterwards.
5. Lastly, that Hungary never asked for more than the maintenance :of what had been confirmed, guaranteed, and sworn by the dynasty, and that the latter made war on us to overthrow our ancient constitution and annihilate our national independence.
What did we defend? The peace and the existing laws. Who began the war? The dynasty, certainly. The dynasty revolted against legality, and must therefore bear the reproach of having taken up revolutionary ground in 1848.
Were it true, as the dynasty asserted in its proclamations addressed to Europe, that it was only making war on a party, a small minority, why was the whole nation punished by being deprived of all its rights and liberties?
A dilemma here presents itself from which the dynasty cannot escape. Either it was desirous of re-establishing peace and right, and in that case it would have had nothing to change in our legal constitution; or it assumed the character of a conqueror, and, if’ so, the heroic resistance which it provoked was perfectly legitimate and justifiable.
This last horn of the dilemma presents the truth, if we may judge by the subsequent acts of the dynasty; if Hungary resolved to oppose violence with force, it was the dynasty that compelled her so to do; if the latter abandoned the ground of right, and took up that of brute force, or in other words that of insurrection, on that ground the people must necessarily come off victorious.
With respect to the divine or natural law, there is a perfect analogy between the Italian, Polish, and Hungarian questions, inasmuch as the three nations desire to change what exists de facto, and aspire to national liberty and independence: but there is a great difference between their positions as regards human law; for, whilst the Italians and Poles have against them international treaties which ought to be first annulled — since they demand an existence which requires the sanction of the law of nations — we Hungarians belong to Austria solely by reason of our act and deed, as we freely made our conditions with the dynasty, and the dynasty freely accepted them.
We therefore merely ask for the observance of the historical rights on which our constitution was based nine centuries ago; we ask for the faithful execution of the pacta conventa, which in our case have never been replaced by other pacts, and the strict observance of which on both sides is the only means of permanently settling and fixing the relations between Hungary as a kingdom and Austria as an empire ; not only so as to satisfy the rights of both states, but also to the advantage of their material interests.
Hungary has therefore in her favour not only the divine or natural law, but also the written or human law; both the spirit and letter of the pact are in her favour: in fine, she only aims at preserving what is legally established, whereas Austria wants to overthrow everything which exists de jure.
I ask you, sir, whether it would not be a moral and legal scandal if two individuals having entered into a contract on any matter whatever, one of them should pretend to escape from his engagements by simply tearing up the paper? Can what is forbidden in private contracts, which concern only individual interests, be permitted in international conventions affecting the welfare, the existence, the happiness of nations? It was neither more nor less than the validity of a synallagmatic and diplomatic contract which Hungary defended in arms in 1848—49, whereas the dynasty wanted to release itself, by its own sole authority, from the conditions it had solemnly accepted.
Is it by acting thus, in opposition to all the principles of morality and justice, that sovereigns can teach their people to respect authority and the laws? Are there two kinds of justice and morality, one for sovereigns, the other for their subjects? Have monarchs any right to complain if their subjects follow their own evil example, according to the old adage:—
Regis ad exemplum totus componitur orbis?