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here and there with herds and hamlets, and losing itself in the hazy distance; on the other, the ceaseless flood of the Danube, flanked by the terminus of a chain of mountains. Here is the classic land of the Magyars. These mountains, one of which is crowned by the citadel of Buda, were the ancient boulevards of Hungarian liberty, and overlook the region which was the center and pivot of her greatness.

The national Diet has assembled; it may be to choose a king, or to decide upon some new policy of the government. What agitation in the city! How various the physiognomies! How different the idioms and costumes of those who come together! Behold, moving in solemn dignity through the crowded streets of the metropolis, the long processions of prelates and priests, of barons and magnates, with their gorgeous banners and equipages! The balconies and windows are gay and glittering with female beauty, but the men are serious and thoughtful in view of the great issues to be decided.

They arrive at the gates of the city. You would say that an army had assembled on the field of Rakos, about to be

ranged in order of battle. Squadrons of hussars, with bows and quivers on their shoulders, with lances and crooked sabers, move here and there upon gorgeously caparisoned steeds, which touch the earth daintily in their curvetings and prancings. The wind sports gracefully with innumerable ensigns, embroidered and painted in every conceivable manner, and wafts far beyond the long lines of snowy tents retreating in the distance, the acclamations of the multitude. Here are represented all the picturesque costumes of the Magyars, all their curious weapons and equestrian finery of standards and trappings. The round hats and simple dress of the country nobles, render all the more brilliant the rich vestments of the great magnates of the kingdom. The polished cuirasses and coats of mail, the gleaming helmets and gold-laced "Attilas," the "kalpaks" with eagle plumes, the skins of the tiger and panther glowing with brilliant colors, horse and rider burdened with golden ornaments, and blazing with diamonds-it is Oriental magnificence married with European luxury.

A voice is heard; few and pointed are

the words. They are heralded and repeated from group to group. Is the proposition favorable? joy illuminates the faces of the cavaliers, and thousands of voices rend the air with their ready response. Is it unfavorable? their faces darken with anger, the heavy squadrons move, the rattling of sabers is heard, and perhaps a bloody mêlée ensues. A word follows; silence is restored, the discussion terminated. "Eljén! Eljén!" Long live Hungarian Liberty, rings upon the clear, sunny air, and the national Diet terminates, until again called together.


Liberty, however, fled from Hungary on the fatal day of Mohacs, when Louis II. and the flower of the Magyar chivalry fell before the Moslems.

Such were the ancient assemblages of the Magyar chivalry on the plain of Rakos. It was there that, in 1299, the magnates of the kingdom protested against the assumed right of the popes to impose a sovereign upon them against their will: there, in 1308, Charles Robert was obliged to declare the papal intervention null; it was on the plain of Rakos that brave Jean Hunyad was named captain-general of the kingdom, in order that he might save it from the Germans and the Turks; and there also, in grateful recognition of his services, the crown of


Since the ascendency of Austrian influence in Hungary, these great national assemblages have ceased to be held. Rakos is now silent. The soil, consecrated by so many souvenirs of Hungarian liberty, is torn by the plow, even as the hearts of the Magyars have been afflicted by their unmerited misfortunes. When visit

VOL. XII.-16

Hungary was decreed to his second son, Rakos, the blood leaps in their veins, Matthias the Just. they dream of the great days that are no more; they think, they hope. Yes, the Hungarians, although crushed down to the earth, still hope.

From the misfortunes of Hungary we turn for a moment to her royal insignia, of which the crown of St. Stephen is the most important, having, for eight centuries, been venerated as the palladium of Hungarian liberty. Of immense value, it is also unique in construction, consisting of a hemispherical cap, which rests upon a broad circular band, the crown proper,

in such a manner, that the two parts form a whole. The material is gold, set with pearls and jewels, and ornamented with enamel paintings of the Saviour and his apostles. The jewels are also arranged so as to form the names of some of the saints and of two or three of the Greek and Roman emperors.

The lower, or Greek crown, is of Byzantine origin, while the inner and upper part, called the Roman crown, came from Italy. The Roman is the older, and is the identical crown sent by Pope Sylvester in the year 1000 to Stephen I., King of Hungary.

The lower, or Greek crown, as appears from the inscriptions, dates its origin in the year 1075, and was about that time sent to Geyza, Duke of Hungary; but up to the year 1306, when Otto, of Bavaria, assumed the name of Bela V., and used the crown at his coronation, its history is obscure. About that time, however, it underwent an interesting episode in connection with Otto and King Wentzel, of Bohemia. The Arpad branch of the royal family having terminated with Andreas III., the royal dignity was offered to Wentzel in the year 1301. He did not accept it

in person, but his son, of the same name, then twelve years of age, was crowned King of Hungary a few months afterward. The choice of Wentzel, however, was not pleasing to a majority of the Hungarians, or to the pope; consequently, he was speedily deposed, and Charles Robert, of Naples, selected in his stead. The old Wentzel conveyed his son back to Bohemia, and with him the Hungarian crown. After the death of his father, in 1305, young Wentzel abandoned his claim to Hungary in favor of Otto, of Bavaria, and gave up to him all the royal insignia. The latter soon after disguised his person in such a manner as to reach Hungary through the territory of his enemy, Rudolph, Duke of Austria.

He carried with him the crown, concealed in a large wooden wine bottle, which was once lost from the wagon in a swamp, but fortunately found again by Otto, who re-crossed the Danube in search of the missing treasure. He was crowned the same year, and soon after carried the royal insignia into Transylvania, whither he went to ask a bride of Ladislaus. But instead of marrying, as he desired, he was thrown into prison by Ladislaus, who at

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once took possession of the crown and regalia. Ladislaus thereupon strove to become king of the Hungarians, but they preferred Charles Robert, who was crowned with a diadem prepared for the purpose. Such, however, was the veneration of the Magyars for the old GræcoRoman crown, that Charles was not really regarded as their king until the year 1310, when, after many entreaties, Ladislaus was induced to give up the old crown, with which Charles underwent a second coronation. From that time until 1440 the royal insignia remained in Hungary. Elizabeth then carried them to Vienna, but in 1464 the crown was returned to Buda for the coronation of Matthias. After the battle of Mohacs, where bold Louis fell, and the crescent prevailed over the cross, curious fortunes were again in reserve for the diadem of King Stephen. During the contest between Ferdinand of Austria and John Zapolya, the crown changed possessors two or three times, and ultimately fell into the hands of Jeremy, who, in place of bringing it back to Visegrad, as he had solemnly promised, carried it to Kaposvae, whither he fled before Solyman, the Emperor of the Turks. The crown then came into the possession of the Sultan, who afterward gave it to his vassal Zapolya. Hav

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ing returned again into the hands of the Magyars, its possession underwent various changes until the year 1849. Upon the sad termination of the Hungarian insurrection, Kossuth and his noble followers buried this cherished idol of the Magyar race, and took refuge in Turkey. Would that the earth still retained it in her bosom!

The history of its discovery in 1853, after a prolonged search of four years, indicates how high an estimate Austria places upon the royal trophy. Görgey having utterly prostrated the hopes of the Hungarians by the treachery of Vilagos, Kossuth, fled toward Wallachia, carrying with him the royal insignia. Finding, however, that he would be intercepted by a large Turkish force on the Danube, he determined to secrete them, and after making several false movements to mislead his enemies, he finally disappeared in the direction of New Orsova. These movements of the Magyar chief had not escaped the attention of the Austrians, and on the termination of hostilities Major Kuger was commissioned by the emperor to recover, if possible, the lost treasure. He found that Kossuth had carried it to Orsova, but that not being able to secrete it there, had taken it to the baths of Hercules, a few miles distant. Having met, however, with no better suc

cess at the latter place, he had been compelled to return to Orsova, where, for a time, the crown had been concealed in the house of George Theodore, one of his confederates. Kuger also learned that Kossuth, with the assistance of trusty friends, had left Orsova by night, and, after crossing the river, proceeded on horses of his own purchase toward Wallachia. The same night also his companions had purchased digging utensils at Old Orsova, and set out for the Eiser. It was well known that Kossuth had not conveyed the crown to Kutayah, though, according to the Austrian authorities, he had displayed at Widdin a paper crown with false jewels, which led many to believe him still in possession of the real crown.

When the snow and ice had disappeared the next spring no traces of an excavation could be discovered in the vicin

ity of Orsara. Equally futile was the diligent search in the fastnesses of the neighboring mountains. For two years all the efforts of the indefatigable Austrians were entirely fruitless. It was then determined to renew the search in the vicinity of Orsova. The chest containing the insignia had now been buried so long that all hopes of finding any traces of the excavation were past, and Kuger turned his attention to a minute examination of every tree, and shrub, and hill-side in the woody district about Orsova. He soon discovered in an isolated corner of the AllionAu, by the side of an old and long since abandoned highway, broken branches and other indications that incited to a most careful examination. The limbs had evidently not been removed by a person in search of fuel. The handle of a hatchet was found, and also an elegant watch-key. The soft light soil, the disturbed underwood, the proximity of the spot to the Danube and the Turco-Servian shore, convinced the commissioner that the place of concealment could not be far distant. The examination was prosecuted diligently until the morning of September 8, 1853, when one of the laborers struck upon the long-wished-for iron chest. In this manner, after a search of four years, the earth was compelled to yield up, though reluctantly, one of the noblest treasures ever concealed in her bosom. Some of the Austrians appear to have believed that the inspiration of a higher

power induced Kuger to renew his search in the vicinity of Orsova, but Austrian gold and Hungarian treachery had more to do with the matter. Were it not for these the royal insignia would doubtless still remain where they were concealed. The traitor was no less a person than Szemere, one of the republican ministers of Hungary, and since a violent enemy of Kossuth. Let his name be spoken only with aversion.

The chest containing the insignia was completely covered as well as lined with rust. Under the mantle of King Stephen were the lesser insignia used at the coronation of the Hungarian kings. In one corner stood the long-sought crown, still retaining its pearls and jewels, and by its side lay the scepter, the sword covered with rust, and the imperial globe. It is singular that Kossuth and his companions did not remove the royal jewels from the crown previous to its concealment, and secrete them upon their persons, since they are of immense value, and, indeed, the chief ornaments of the trophy. Had such been the case, even though the jewels had fallen into the hands of the Turks, the éclât attending the discovery of the crown would have been far less. One is also surprised that Kossuth and his followers did not take refuge in the almost impregnable fortress of Peterwardein, in Lower Hungary, instead of seeking a refuge among the Turks. We were in Vienna when the royal insignia were brought there in 1853. Immense preparations had been made for the proper reception of those mementoes of down-trodden Hungary. The Emperor Francis Joseph, who has never yet ventured to wear the crown of Stephen, made it convenient, however, to be absent from the city. We saw no expressions of joy whatever, much less of enthusiasm. A deep and death-like silence pervaded the immense crowds on the ramparts in the Graben and St. Stephen's Square that, indicated more sadness than delight. Even the minions of Francis Joseph seemed to look upon the cherished idol of the Magyars as something they were unworthy to possess, while here and there the dark and earnest face of a Hungarian spoke of burning thoughts that his lips could not utter. It is now kept in the royal castle of Buda. That, O reader, is one of the few diadems worthy to be worn; nor will it many years remain a trophy in the hands of the young Nero of Austria.

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