From Classic Encyclopedia 1911
LADISLAS SZALAY (1813-1864), Hungarian statesman and historian, was born at Buda on the 18th of April 1813. After the completion of his studies, he became a member of the Hungarian parliament, and in 1848 he represented Hungary in the German national parliament at Frankfort. He took part in the revolution of 1848-49, and was obliged to seek refuge in Switzerland, where he wrote his history of Hungary. This important work, published at Budapest (1856-1860), extends to 1707. Szalay also wrote remarkable studies on Pitt, Fox, Mirabeau and other statesmen, and contributed very considerably to the codification of Magyar law. In later life he returned to Hungary, but he died at Salzburg on the 17th of July 1864.
See Alexander Flegler, L. von Szalay (Leipzig, 1866).
[[Szechenyi, Istvan, Count]] (1791-1860), Hungarian statesman, the son of Ferencz Szechenyi and the countess Juliana Festetics, was born at Vienna on the 21st of September 1791. Very carefully educated at home till his seventeenth year, when he entered the army, he fought with distinction at the battle of Raab (June 14, 180 9), and on the 19th of July brought about the subsequent junction of the two Austrian armies by conveying a message across the Danube to General J. G. Chasteler at the risk of his life. Equally memorable was his famous ride, through the enemy's lines on the night of the 16th-17th of October 1813, to convey to Blucher and Bernadotte the wishes of the two empefors that they should participate in the battle of Leipzig on the following day, at a given time and place. In May 1815 he was transferred to Italy, and at the battle of Tolentino scattered Murat's bodyguard by a dashing cavalry charge. From September 1815 to 1821 he visited France, England, Italy, Greece and the Levant, carefully studying the institutions of the countries through which he passed, and everywhere winning admirers and friends. A second - scientifictour with his friend, Baron Miklos Wesselenyi, taught him much about trade and industry, which knowledge he subsequently applied to his country's needs. In 1825, when he went to France in the suite of Prince PM Esterhazy, to attend the coronation of Charles X., the canal du Midi especially attracted his attention and suggested to him the idea of regulating the rivers Danube and Theiss. At the Diet of 1825, when the motion for founding a Hungarian academy was made by PM Nagy, who bitterly reproached the Magyar nobles for so long neglecting their mother-tongue, Szechenyi offered to contribute a whole year's income (60,000 florins) towards it. His example was followed by three other magnates who contributed between them 58,000 florins more. A commission was thereupon appointed to settle the details, and on the 18th of August the project received the royal assent. Another of his great projects was the opening up of the Danube for trade from Buda to the Black Sea. He satisfied himself of the practicability of the scheme by a personally conducted naval expedition from Pest to Constantinople. The Palatine Joseph was then won over, and on the 10th of June 1833 a Danube Navigation Committee was formed which completed its work in ten years. Szechenyi was also the first to start steamboats on the Theiss, the Danube and the lake of Balaton. It was now, too, that he published his famous work Stadium, suggesting a whole series of useful and indeed indispensable reforms (1833), which was followed by Hunnia (1834), which advocated the extension and beautifying of Budapest so as to make it the worthy capital of a future great power. His A Few Words on Horse-racing, a sport which he did so much to introduce and ennoble, appeared in 1839.
All this time Szechenyi had been following, with some anxiety, the political course of Kossuth. He sincerely believed that the exaggeration and exaltation of the popular editor of the Pesti Hirlap would cast the nation back into the old evil conditions from which it had only just been raised, mainly by Szechenyi's own extraordinary efforts, and in Kelet nepe, which is also an autobiography, he prophetically hinted at an approaching revolution. "Trample on me without ceremony," he wrote to Kossuth on this occasion, "but for God's sake don't use the nimbus of your popularity to plunge Hungary into chaos." On this very point of reform the nation was already divided into two parties, though only the minority held with Szechenyi. But neither this fact nor the gradual loss of his popularity restrained Szechenyi, both in the Diet and at county meetings, from fulminating conscientiously against the extreme demands of Kossuth. His views at this period are expounded in the pamphlet Politikai programm toredekek (" Fragments of a Political Programme"). He held the portfolio of ways and communications in the first responsible Magyar administration (March 23, 1848) under Batthyany, but his increasing apprehension of a revolution, with its inevitable corollaries of civil war and a rupture with the dynasty, finally affected his mind, and on the 5th of September he was removed to an asylum. Here he remained for many years, but recovered sufficiently to correspond with his friends and even to meditate writing fresh books. In 1859 he published the pamphlet Ein Buick in which he implored his countrymen to accept the Bach system as the best constitution attainable in the circumstances. The sudden death of his old friend Baron Samuel Josika and the once more darkening political horizon led him, in a moment of despair, to take his own life (April 8, 1860). He richly deserved the epithet "the greatest of the Magyars" bestowed upon him by his political antagonist Kossuth.
Most of his numerous works on political and economical subjects have been translated into German. The best complete edition of his writings has been published, in nine volumes, by the Hungarian Academy (Pest, 1884-1896). See Life of Szechenyi, by Zsigmond Kemeny (Hung.; Pest, 1870); Aurel Kecskemethy, The Last Years and Death of Count Szechenyi (Hung.; Pest, 1866); Menyhert Lonyai, Count Szechenyi and his Posthumous Writings (Hung.; Budapest, 1875); Max Falk, "Der Graf Stephen Szechenyi and seine Zeit" (in the Oesterreichische Revue, Vienna, 1867); Antal Zichy, Count Szechenyi as a Pedagogue (Hung.; Budapest, 1876); Pal Gyulai, Szechenyi as a Writer (Hung.; Budapest, 1892); Antal Zichy, Biographical Sketch of Count Stephen Szechenyi (Hung.; 2 vols., Budapest, 1896-1897). (R. N. B.)