I will now continue the story of our youthful acquaintance. Szilágyi can hardly get to know the minister perfectly if he does not know the first decade of his legislative career.
Our meeting to form the young Deaf Party was successful and valuable for barely a year.
Ferencz Deák collapsed under the burden of the disease. From the autumn of 1873, he could no longer enter the circle or the House of Representatives.
Bitto was secretly overthrown by the winds of Bosnian politics, openly laying down the center-left arms and melting into the Deák Party.
The dependent elements of the House of Representatives were frightened and either ran apart or hurried to flee under the cover of the lords of the merger. Sennyey also formed a separate party with his little conservative party.-35-
As the old Deacle party disbanded: so did the young Deaccartus.
I did not join the new liberal party, although Csernátony also called, Tisza and others. Csernátony encouraged us to make the unification in the field of the political press as well. Take over the leadership of »Inspector«. I didn’t stand it. My reasons are childish. I didn’t love Tisza, but it’s true that she didn’t like me either. But his party didn’t love it either.
Kerkapoly, Szilágyi, Guszti Pulszky joined the new party.
Even Paczolay went inside.
I stared over this. Paczolay’s soul was filled with a very strong dislike of the center-left and Kálmán Tisza. Very much stronger than mine. And yet he accepted the guidance of Kálmán Tisza.
“What did you do for God’s sake, Brother John?”
The old board judge smiled slyly.
– I had a good reason. The Tisza party is very big. If I stay out: I can’t harm him. But if I go in: I can get annoyed there at least every day.
But Tisza was not the man who let himself be annoyed for a long time. There was not only one Paczolay in his party, but quite a lot. But he also ousted sixty or seventy of his party soon, as early as the spring of 1876. These formed the independent liberal party.
Szilágyi, Kerkapoly did not go with them. They were still in the majority camp. They are just economics-36-by compromise they left the Tisza in the spring of 1878. I remember sixteen. They are all believers in the former Deák Party. Significant man of all.
But I still think that if there is not so much doubt, denial and judging instinct in Szilágyi: then he will work harder, adapt better, the young Deák Party will have a longer life and there will be more traces in the history of our generation and the big merger will not do so much damage. s financial and moral danger to the country.
But he couldn’t and didn’t want to be a party leader. Who should judge, with whom should they contend, who should they condemn, to whom should they cast their cutting edge if no one is before him and no one above him? And there really is no one above the leader.
What a destructive force was Szilágyi at a young age: this is only really shown by the history of the codification committee.
This committee, if I remember correctly, was established in 1871 and formed a department of the Prime Minister’s Office.
The idea he came from was smart and healthy.
We had to make a lot of laws. The bills were drafted feverishly.
First, care had to be taken of the language of the laws. Let that language be Hungarian, be clear, stand on the heights of science and literature. Do not have the Hungarian language vaccinated in German by newsletters and waiters and discerning young people. And the clever and clear words of Hungarian legislation in county and general legal life -37-use, not silly translations of foreign proverbs.
Initially, it was not necessary to pay special attention to this.
Deák himself created or reviewed the laws of public law with great care. Linguistic nonsense could not remain in these.
It also usually reviewed estate, private, and litigation laws; – they would not have dared to present some silly Hungarianness to him.
And then there were many noble people sitting in the House of Representatives with great literary dignity, who really took care of our language. Csengery, Mihály Horváth, Gedeon Tanárky, Károly Szász, György Joannovics, Döme Horváth and many others, but even Ghyczy, Várady and others from the opposition guarded the legal purity of our language with fearful care. The press was also more careful in this regard than it is now. The mold of grief did not surprise the national feeling then as strongly as it does today.
But the bills were drafted more massively on a day-to-day basis: it was necessary to set up a standing committee to ensure that the language of the proposals was clear.
The purity of the language is important. But even more important is the cleanliness and coordination of the institutions.
There were many impossibilities ahead of us at the beginning of the constitutional era.
The state organization consisted of a mass of three types of institutions.-38-
One of the masses was formed by the Austro-German institutions of the Bach system.
The other mass is the institutions of pre-48 Hungarian life and the county.
The third mass of 67 have been imprisoned institutions.
These three kinds of masses had to be merged, brought into harmony, the alien was slowly eliminated and replaced with the national one, the omissions of the generations were to be corrected quickly and swiftly.
The bills were made in a factory way.
But who made it? Did we have lawmakers who are commonly referred to as codifiers? And even if they were: could they work with Hungarian reason, from Hungarian experience, in a national spirit?
We were very poor in lawmakers.
The generation that sat under the wings of Deák grew up in an opposition role; never steered before; his political spirit was formed for the judiciary; he was uninformed in the work because he had never dealt with it before.
Professionals should have been entrusted with drafting the law. But our specialists were also of two kinds. The old tabloids who had experience and wisdom. Deák, Ghyczy, Nyáry, Paczolay, Bónis and some others, but who did not know the formal developments of European legal life either directly or from the literature of nations. And the new people, the “scientists,” the lawmakers formed from the scientific literature abroad,-39-both domestic experience and conceptual wisdom, but there was no shortage of theory and university knowledge. These included Szilágyi and Kerkapoly. Men like Kautz, Csemeghy, Pauler were lined up here. And finally, there were the political writers of the 1940s, Baron Eötvös, Csengery, Pulszky, Trefort and others.
Scholars of private law and formal law were not homely in the administration; public administration scholars did not understand finance; finance scholars were uninformed in the national economy. And so on. The provisions of one bill waded through the other. It was right to fear that the more laws and regulations we make: the greater the confusion of the institutions, the weaker the security of rights and the more vulnerable the public interest to the powerful and the legitimate private interest to the state.
We pondered: how could this be helped, how could this trouble be prevented?
We found a medicine in the formation of a standing law-making committee. This committee examines the proposals of each minister from the side –
is their tongue clear?
does the proposal fit in with our existing smart institutions, does it not violate the national perception, is it in line with the spirit of our species?
and does it not conflict with the provisions of formal law which govern other institutions?
Dezső Szilágyi became a member of this committee. As a justice department councilor, Bittó’s ministry of justice took his place -40-at the time. No one doubted that Dezső Szilágyi’s great mind, great knowledge, pure Hungarianness and noble ambition would show admirable successes in this committee.
How inexperienced we were even then! What childish faith inspired us even then! How much we had no idea at the time that when the compulsion of relations on the one hand and the great minds and noble feelings on the other collide, the great minds and noble feelings never win, but the compulsion of relations always prevails.
The poet is right.
We are under the weight of a curse, under which so much reason, so much power, so much holy will withers away.
If this committee had been able to fulfill its mission: it would not have been a great result of its operation.
But he couldn’t.
Who were its members: it doesn’t matter now. There is no trace of the tree leaf being caught by the wind: there is no memory of this committee.
When I met this committee: it used to hold its meetings in the palace of the academy. I also went to a single session as a student.
Ministers sent bills to this, but none of them were returned. A longer proposal for an organic institution is certainly none. That’s the only one back yet. This was about the unification of the capitals of Buda and Pest-41-proposal, which later became law in 1873. You only mention two interesting suggestions. One was about the military practices of the student youth, the other about forest law. None of it became anything, though it would have been salvated as well. Until then, the committee was deliberating, quarreling, carving and carving out the proposals until there were no fragments left. And then the Minister either postponed his business or presented it directly to the King and the House of Representatives.
Szilágyi was the most difficult.
His terrible mind and great knowledge, and his destructive passion for youth, tore everything apart. In the bureaucracy of the formalities of all rights, there was no sharper mind in the world than his own. I have told others a hundred times in thirty years, but also to himself. The mind, the great mind, is like the sun: it lights up all around and in all directions. But Szilágyi’s mind shone only in one direction. In the direction in which the court of the formalities of rights lies. This operation of the legislature’s mind is also useful and necessary, but no one could control the fire, flame and lightning of Szilágyi’s mind in this direction. Stunned, blinded, this light struck.
This committee was first called a threshing machine. Szilágyi’s name “threshing machine” and even “the big threshing machine” comes from Count Albin Csáky. He once called Szilágyi the big threshing machine as the minister of religion in parliament. Since then, the name has remained on it in the newspaper literature. But thirty years before the codification committee-42-we also used this flag. It is true that Szilágyi was the big wheel in that as well.
We then named the committee the melting furnace. Every plan, every proposal had to fall apart, become a liquid, there. We later named it a crematorium, which burns everything and provides only smoke and little ash, nothing else. In 1873 it really barely functioned and in 1874 it was permanently discontinued.
Idea, principle and creation: these are the three stages of development of the legislative mind. The perfect mind that is capable of all three.
The idea is not like any other established thought. Every thinking person, every human being, every writer, and every fit teacher has an idea. The cathedral mind does not seek anything other than to produce an idea. But usually he can’t do anything else. He who has taught for a long time, do not make him a legislator, nor a governor of a country, nor a director of public authorities or large institutions. There will be no others there, only zimer and ornament. If he wants to be different: he spoils everything or becomes a comedy figure. Though as a teacher, if he pursues a sublime vocation for it.
The principle is already a more practical, meaningful thing. It is no longer just a matter of the mind, but also of character. We consider the direction of thinking and feeling to be the principle that will surely lead to the public good in the turmoil of the symptoms and needs that arise. It is foolish to undertake a legislative role without principle. And even more vile is who is driven by selfish interest-43-in the field of public affairs in some direction. The parties are at the service of principles. To have a firm principle for the legislature: it is both his duty and his ornament.
Szilágyi is a perfect man so far.
His ideals are rich, deep, voluminous. Its principle is solid, pure and noble. He did not nurture selfish interest in his public life, neither in himself nor in others was recognized and respected in anyone. He didn’t even close his eyes when he noticed anyone. How strict he was about himself, he could be so strict about others. This was also one of the reasons why he could often be rough, raw, and even rude in social contact.
But he was already weak in the work. This is to be understood as my word that his great mind was not perfect and his great knowledge was truncated.
When he proved the inability of a proposal there in the codification committee, the editor of the proposal himself, the minister himself, mocked his own veil: he was rightly called upon to make a proposal.
He also did business properly.
He took the documents, all the prepared materials of the proposal and the torn proposal itself. He also made a serious attempt to make a proposal in each case, but to the best of my knowledge, he never made a single proposal.
In the time of the Dacian governments, the class system of French origin was a great practice. The 48th National Assembly, the first people’s representation, adopted this system-44- to ensure that legislators are fully informed on all issues and that their views and will can be enforced even by minority parties in proportion to their strength.
In addition to the departments, there were also commissions.
Szilágyi appeared at all class meetings. In general, at least half of the Members were always present at the preparatory meetings. And where Szilágyi was: there the meeting could not be hastened.
In the time of the Deák Party, party discipline was different than it is today. The majority stood firm only on what he saw fit to accept. The government still had great authority, but that authority was not decisive. Only the authority of Ferencz Deák was decisive, but he allowed free space for an exchange of views. Party deliberations often lasted for weeks over a large proposal.
Szilágyi always participated in them.
He never missed class meetings.
He was also normally present on the Central Committee as a rapporteur for his department.
He was invincible everywhere in the court. Where possible, we gave in to your comments. We didn’t like to get involved in a deeper and more exciting discussion with him. But when it came to a replacement, correction, modification, or new motion: there he handed over the editing of the motion to either me or someone else. He was better able to judge another’s work, but he loved it more than his work being judged by another.