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Johann Majlth, (1786-1855) Earl

Johann Majlth, (1786-1855) Earl Hungarian conservative politician, ranked among the eminent Hungarian nobles. After finishing university studies he was an employee of high Hungarian bodies. In the 1840s he developed his broad educational and cultural prospect as an editor and publicist. He belonged to the representatives of the conservative noblemen camp and was an opponent of the Hungarian reform movement. He held a positive view towards the efforts of non-Magyar nations, and he summoned the Slovaks to defend themselves in an active form against Magyarization.

During the year 1848 he disagreed with the anti-Viennese state and legal radicalism, national intolerance, and the partial reforms of Hungarian government. He remained an advocate of the unified Habsburg monarchy, of the equality of its nations as the condition of stability, and of the conservative political system built on bureaucracy. Majlath moved from Hungary to Vienna and Munich. When in November 1848 the Vienna government started to deal with the issue of re-building the monarchy, Majlath, at the request of the prime minister, Schwarzenberg, elaborated several proposals for the rearrangement of Hungary to allow a guarantee of the equality of its nations. According to these proposals, after the division to seven nationally administered districts, Hungary, as a matter of fact, would cease to exist in its old shape. Districts would have their own Diets, administration, education, jurisdiction, and they would be under the imperial bodies in Vienna and have their representatives there. A special royal commissioner would be named to head these bodies. Majlath devoted special attention to the Slovaks and to their relations with Magyars. After the examining at length contemporary theories of social psychology, he concluded that the Slovaks would be able to develop their life freely only after complete separation from Hungary and establishment of their own political unit. The capital of the Slovak district ought to be in the town of Banska Bystrica and the official language there ought to be the Slovak language. The district ought to develop its own jurisdiction, culture and school system (including university and secondary school, publishing houses and political newspapers). Majlath suggested achieving these political changes at the commencement of the emperor's military campaign in Hungary. Because of the refusal of Windischgrätz, Hungarian Old-conservatives living in Vienna, and several ministers, Majlath's proposals did not become official governmental policy. Majlath's plan to rebuild the monarchy had several features in common with the Slovak efforts to establish their own legal state; and several Slovak activists maintained contacts with Majlath, including Michael Hodaea, Jozef M. Hurban, and Stefan Zavodnik. In March and April Majlath organized the work of counsellors of various nations in the government, and he positively evaluated the proposals of the Slovak Government Trustees. Discouraged by the political failures, problems with estates and personal family troubles, he committed suicide.
Dusan Skvarna


Magyar életrajzi lexikon Budapest 1969, II, 125.

Rapant, Daniel Slovenské povstanie 1848-49. I

Slovensky biograficky slovnik IV.

Szinnyei, Jozsef Magyar irok élete és munkai, 1905, VII, 332-336.

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