Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 8 >> Dance Of Death to Dean >> Deak


hungarian, diet and rights

DEAK, da-ak, Ferencz, Hungarian states man: b. Sojtar, Zala, Hungary, 17 Oct. 1803; d. Budapest, 29 Jan. 1876. Having studied law at Raab, he practised for sometime as a barrister, but his political career began with his election to the National Diet in 1832. He soon became, in spite of his loyalist and conservative tendencies, a prominent member of the liberal opposition. He was particularly desirous of preserving Hungarian nationality intact and of improving internal conditions. At the revolution of 1848 he became Minister of Justice under Count Batthyanyi and advanced a scheme for the re organization of the administration of justice which did not materialize owing to the pressure of events. He spent great efforts in attempting to avoid the break with Austria, and retired when the Committee of Defense was formed and Kossuth obtained power. He tried to negotiate peace with the Austrian commander in 1848, but terms could not be agreed upon. On the defeat of the patriots in 1849 he retired from public office and did not return till 1860.

He led the Diet of 1861, where he formulated the address to the emperor the Hun garian demands for constitutional rights. The Diet was immediately dissolved by the emperor, but Deak did not give up the project. It was not until after the war between Austria and Prussia that these demands were granted and Delk's hopes for a dualistic constitutional monarchy were realized. Deik refused to ac cept any honors, but remained in the Diet until his death, working patiently and consistently for the unity of Hungary and jealously guarding its rights and liberties. Great praise has been given him for his generosity, simplicity and sincere patriotism. His statesmanship was marked by clarity of vision and lofty unselfish devotion to his country. Consult Forster, 'Francis Deak, Hungarian Statesman' (London 1930) ; Ferenczi, Z., 'Life of Deak' (Budapest 1894, in Hungarian) Csengery, 'Franz Deak' (trans lated into German by Heinrich, Leipzig 1877 78).