B bábi, Tibor

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Batthyány, Count Lajos (Louis) (Pozsony, now Bratislava, Slovakia, 14 February 1806 - Pest, 7 October 1849) – Politician, landowner, martyr of the War of Independence of 1848-1849. After completing his studies in Law he managed his large estate with progressive methods. In politics he was one of the leading forces of the opposition until 1848. On 15 March 1848 he was a member of the delegation that took the National Assembly’s demands for reform to Vienna. Ferdinand V named him Prime Minister on the 17 March. The Hungarian Parliament sent him and Ferenc (Francis) Deák to the King to petition him to put an end to Jellačic’s attack from Croatia against Hungary. The king refused to see the delegation and when Baron Josip Jellačic made a raid into the country with his Croatian units, Battyány resigned the next day. The following day, on the insistence of Lajos (Louis) Kossuth and others, he agreed to form a government again; but this did not receive Royal Assent, and his appointment was not ratified. Realizing that he would not be able to reach his goal, he officially withdrew his nomination on the 2 October 1848. In the National Assembly he continued to strive for consensus. He proposed that the National Assembly send a delegation to Prince Windischgräetz and he was to be a member of the delegation; but on the 3 January 1849, Windischgräetz did not receive him. Instead gave orders for his arrest in Pest on 8 January 1849. He was imprisoned in Buda, Pozsony, Laibach, and finally in Olmütz. He was tried for high treason that he unsuccessfully denied. He was sentenced first to a few years of imprisonment; then, on the influence of Schwarzenberg, to death with a recommendation for clemency. Baron Julius von Haynau, the Commander-in-Chief of the Austrian army in Hungary, ignoring formalities, ordered his execution by hanging. Batthyány attempted an unsuccessful suicide with a secretly obtained dagger. Due to his serious injuries he was not hanged but executed by a firing squad in the New Building (Újépület) of Pest on the 7 October 1849. The sentence caused worldwide grief and protest, the world press sharply attacked Austria. Haynau was replaced. A few days later Batthyány’s body was laid to rest in the crypt of the Franciscan church in Pest; and after the Compromise of 1867 was transferred amidst national mourning to the Mausoleum of the Kerepes Cemetery of Budapest. This Mausoleum was broken into and ransacked in 1987. At the site of his execution a lamp now guards his memory. – B: 0883, 1031, 1105, T: 7668.→Deák, Ferenc; Kossuth, Lajos; Haynau, Baron Julius Freiherr von.

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