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The Diet objected to the terms, as illegal and unconstitutional; and " No surrender" was the watchword that ran along the lines of defence. On the 28th, therefore, Prince Windischgrätz began to bombard the city, and the troops advanced to the assault. The Jagerzeil, a beautiful street leading to the Prater, was fortified by a succession of barricades, built up to the first-floor windows, in a half-moon shape, with regular embrasures, and planted with cannon. This street was the scene of the hardest fighting, and the spectacle it presented to an English eye-witness, by whom it was described in a letter published at the time, was something frightful. It was strewed with the dead bodies of men and horses, lying in pools of blood. The attacking party had used congreve rockets, which set fire to the houses, from which the insurgents attacked the troops, and burnt down one-half of them, while the other half were riddled with shell and shot. The smell of roast flesh from half-burnt bodies, issuing from the ruined houses, was awfully sickening.

At ten o'clock on the morning of the 28th the tocsin suddenly rang from all the churches, the générale beat in all the streets, and the combatants were everywhere seen hurrying to their rallying points. At half-past eleven the signal gun was discharged by the besiegers. This was immediately followed by a tremendous roar of cannon from all the batteries, and the firing became general on both sides. The first barricade in the Jagerzeil, which was commanded by the Croats and Chasseurs, stationed in the houses and woods of the Prater adjoining, soon became untenable. The second was occupied by the University legion, commanded by General Bern. There the guns were well served, and the contest was terribly fierce and obstinate. Three assaults of the Imperialists had been gallantly repulsed, with great slaughter; triumphant cheers ringing loud, mingled with the shouts of command and the thundering of artillery. But, in the midst of the triumph, a cry of consternation was heard. The Croats had penetrated to the rear of the barricade so gloriously defended, and the brave band of students and professors, attacked at once in front and rear, and exposed to a cross-fire from the adjoining houses, were rapidly shot down and driven from their position, which, with all the guns mounted upon it, was taken possession of by the Imperialists. From all the other strong positions the insurgents were driven in rapid succession. In some the students fought till the last man was slain. At night the scene presented by the city was awful to contemplate. It was on fire in twenty-six different places. The theatre of the Odeon, the baths of Schuted, the railway station of Barek, and several streets, were wrapped in devouring flames. The population were all out gazing in speechless agony at the unchecked progress of the conflagration, fed in many cases by the dead bodies of their friends; the ascending columns flashing a lurid light upon the sky as far as the eye could reach. The morning of the 20th was occupied in the burying of the dead, who were found in astonishing nnmbers, lying On the barricades and about the streets. The ranks of the insurgents were now greatly thinned. Many of the bravest had fallen; many others, despairing of the cause, laid down their arms, put off their uniforms, and retired from the contest. And although the students and the Poles were for holding out to the last, and had repaired to their rallying points to renew the contest, their commander saw the folly of persisting in a struggle against three armies surrounding and commanding the city. They therefore declared to the Committee of Public Safety that it was impossible to prolong the defence. The Imperial general suspended hostilities, to give the citizens time to reflect. They sent a deputation, which sought in vain to get some mitigation of the terms. A sort of council of war was then held amongst the leaders of the insurgents. Bern vehemently protested against the surrender of the town. "It would, " he exclaimed, "be a monstrous act of cowardice, while their defeat on the ruins of Vienna would be a passport to immortality. From the top of St. Stephen's the advanced posts of the Magyars are already seen, and their guns ready to pour grape on their enemies. Yes, the ruins of Vienna will be a tomb worthy of the giants of Poland and Austria." But Messenhauser, commanders in-chief of the insurgents, answered, "You are not a Viennese. You mistake the epoch; the ruins of Vienna would not be your tomb; for, if such a misfortune was reserved for the capital of the monarchy through your fault, you would be buried in it under the curses and the opprobrium of the universe." The National Guards loudly applauded, the Poles and refugees were silent, the terms of capitulation were accepted, and before midnight, when the truce was to terminate, a deputation conveyed the submission of the city to the Imperial commander-in-chief.

In the meantime the organisation of the insurgents began to melt away; the clubs were dissolved, and wagons of arms were being brought into the depots appointed by the Government, when a wild electric excitement ran through the city, and the whole population rushed forth in tumults of joy. It had been rumoured from the tower of St. Stephen's that the Hungarian army were engaged in battle with the Imperial forces. Instantly the cry was raised, "Long live the Hungarians I all is over! here are the Magyars! To arms! to arms! Forward to meet the enemy! " There was a rush to the ramparts, which were quickly crowded with defenders. The guns were again dragged forth and placed in position, and no one now dared to speak of submission. At one o'clock another bulletin announced that the battle was advancing towards Oberston and Inzersdorf, and that the Hungarians appeared to be advancing victoriously. This news seemed to be confirmed by the rattling of cannon balls against the walls and high buildings of the city. The people now broke forth into uncontrollable transports of joy. Flags were waved, and guns were fired from all the steeples, towers, and roofs of the city. But further observation showed that the sanguine hopes so quickly excited were delusive; and the insurgents were cast down from the heights of ' exultation to the depths' of despondency - as if n convict, about to Be hanged, obtained a pardon, which was in a few hours after revoked. The tide of battle was seen to roll away, and the banners that it was hoped would soon float on the towers of Vienna marked the course of a confused, retreating army in the far distance. Despair, disorganisation, disorder, and riot now reigned in Vienna; and all was anarchy until the triumphant Imperialists came into possession.

The Hungarian army, under General Moza, remained encamped on Hungarian territory, reluctant to commit an open act of aggression by crossing the Austrian frontier. On the 28th, however, the generals, who were accompanied by Kossuth, as Dictator and Governor of Hungary, resolved to come to the succour of the Viennese. The army was 25,000 strong, but many of them were young, unseasoned troops; while Windischgrâtz had prepared to meet them, posted in strong positions, an army equal in number, consisting of experienced soldiers inured to fire. At first the Hungarians succeeded, and drove the Austrians back in some minor skirmishing encounters. Görgei had the command of a brigade, with which he was ordered to attack one of the villages occupied by the Austrians. He found the Hungarian army so disposed that the centre was a mile and a half from the left wing, which was therefore wholly unsupported. Görgei, according to his own account, hastened to Kossuth and Moza to explain the dangerous state of the army. The answer of the general was, "I stand where I can survey the whole; do you in silence obey what I order." He did so; but Windischgrâtz quickly took advantage of the bad generalship, pushing forward some horse artillery, which opened a heavy fire on Gorgei's unsupported battalion. Ho states, in his account of the transaction, that they instantly took to flight, rushing headlong over one another. The most heroic efforts were made by a few brave fellows to arrest the panic and the rout, but in vain. Görgei says: "Out of nearly 5,000 men of these National Guards, about whose valour I had already heard so many tirades - who, as themselves had repeatedly asserted, were burning with desire to measure themselves with an enemy whom they never mentioned but with the greatest contempt - there remained to me, after a short cannonade, a single man, and that an elderly invalided soldier. The whole of our force from Schwechat to Mannsworth had been swept away. The other brigades, incredible as it may seem, had taken to their heels even before mine. Like a scared flock, the main body of the army was hastening, in the greatest disorder, towards the Fucha for safety."

On the night of the 31st of October the city had surrendered, and was in possession of the Imperial troops. They set about extinguishing the flames as quickly as they could, and order was soon established. Robert Blum was tried by court-martial, convicted, by his own avowal, of seditious speeches and armed resistance against the Imperial troops, and immediately shot. Next day Messenhauser, the Commander of the National Guards, was found guilty of the same crime, and shared the same fate. The Frankfort Assembly, of which Blum was a member, passed a resolution indignantly protesting before all Germany against his arrest and execution, which acts were consummated in total disregard of the Imperial law of the 30th September, and they demanded the punishment of all who had been directly or indirectly concerned in that outrage. The state of public feeling in Germany upon the subject may be inferred from the fact that this resolution was unanimously adopted. This remonstrance, however, had no effect. Vienna was occupied by 30,000 troops. A new Ministry was appointed, with Prince Schwartzenberg at its head, and on the 2nd of December the Emperor Ferdinand abdicated in favour of his nephew, Francis Joseph, whose father, Francis Charles, being next in succession, renounced his claim to the throne. The retiring Emperor stated that the pressure of events, and the immediate want of a comprehensive reformation in the forms of State, convinced him that more youthful powers were necessary to complete the grand work which he had commenced. The young Emperor, in his proclamation, expressed his conviction of the value of free institutions, and said that he entered with confidence on the path of a prosperous reformation of the monarchy. Nothing could be more liberal than this manifesto. The new state of things was to be founded on the basis of true liberty, the equality of all citizens before the law, and a full representation of the people, with whom he was ready to share his privileges, so that all the countries and tribes of the monarchy might be united into one glorious integral state. But the conquest over rebellion, and the return of domestic peace, were declared to be the first conditions of the great work he had undertaken.

The National Assembly resumed its task of constitution making, as if nothing had happened. But it did not suit the Imperial policy to wait for the result of their labours, or to allow the country to think that it could owe anything to the collective wisdom of democratic representatives. He, therefore, took the work in band himself. It was headed by the following string of titles, which is a curiosity in its way: - "We, Francis Joseph, by the grace of God, Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary and Bohemia, King of Lombardy and Venice, of Dalmatia, Croatia, and Sclavonia, Galicia, Lodomeria, and Illyria; King of Jerusalem, Archduke of Austria, Grand Duke of Tuscany and Cracow, Duke of Lorraine, of Salzburg, Styria, Karinthia, Krain, and the Bukovina; Grand Prince of Transylvania, Margrave of Moravia, Duke of Upper and Lower Silesia, of Modena, Parnia, Piacenza, and Guastalla, of Auschwitz and Yabor, of Teschen, Frione, Ragusa, and Yara; Princely Count of Hapsburg, Tyrol, Kyburg, Gorg, and Grädigka; Prince of Trent and Briden; Margrave of the Upper and Lower Lausitz; Count of Hohenumbs, Feldkirch, Bregendy, Soneaberg, &c.; Lord of Trieste, Cattaro, and of the Windish Mark." The constitution was introduced by a proclamation signed by the Emperor and the members of his Cabinet, in which he described the distracted state of the empire, with civil war raging in Hungary; and in places where tranquillity was seemingly undisturbed, a spirit of distrust and hate stalking about in darkness. Such was the melancholy action, not of liberty, but of the abuse of liberty. To oppose those abuses, and " to finish the revolution," was his duty as well as his purpose. The Assembly, which had been framing a constitution, had wasted many months in theoretical discussions, containing contradictions to the actual condition of the State, opposing all right and legality, and encouraging revolution and discouraging loyalty. He therefore resolved to gratify the wishes of the people of his monarchy, who were waiting with just and generous impatience for a constitution that would embrace the whole empire.

The principles of the new constitution were extremely liberal. It guaranteed perfect religious freedom, religious equality, the freedom of the press, the right of public meeting, individual liberty, inviolability of the domestic circle and of private correspondence, freedom of locomotion throughout the empire, abolition of serfdom, security of property, a legislature consisting of two houses, both elective, to meet annually, a franchise extended to every one that paid taxes, the vote by ballot, responsibility of ministers, and independence of judges. The great design of this constitution was the consolidation of the heterogeneous nationalities, of which it was composed, into one body. Had they all suffered themselves to be thus wrought into a state of perfect unification, pervaded by a loyal disposition, the young Emperor was willing to deal with them in a liberal and a generous spirit. But he found the nationalities too intractable for this imperial process of centralisation. The insurrection in the Italian provinces had been crushed; but the Italians were as far as ever from being conciliated, and Hungary was up in arms against the Imperial authority. In both countries the constitution was received with coldness and distrust.

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Vienna 1848
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