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Széchenyi Család

„Ha Isten velünk, ki ellenünk?”

Count Elemér Széchenyi Sárvár-Uplands Foundation, in the official abbreviated name: Count Széchenyi Family Foundation members, are descendants of Count Ferenc Széchenyi, the founder of the Hungarian National Museum Count Ferenc Széchenyi and bloody descendants of  Pál and the Greatest Hungarian. Count István Széchenyi Foundation was founded in 2013 and it became a public benefit in 2016.

Aware of this, we would like to elevate the family foundation and further represent the spirit of what the Széchényi/Széchenyi family has represented during centuries in Hungary.

We would like to preserve and carry forward those reforms and idealism over and above our national cultural heritage which represent those values that are worthy of the name of the Greatest Hungarian, Count István Széchenyi.

As he put it:

“Ever since I have lived, an unspeakable desire is in my soul. The phrasing of Hungary, the glorification of the Hungarian nation lives in every drop of my blood.”

The family - following its spirit - helps the birth of reforms in the 21. century also.

Throughout its history, the Széchenyi Family worked to intending to create an economically and culturally strong Hungarian nation. This goal presupposes a series of Hungarian successes. Accordingly, the Count Széchenyi Family Foundation stands by all of those pure initiations - or initiate such ones yourself - which serves the ascension of the homeland.

The Greatest Hungarian

No more than the man who has achieved centuries of success at the nation’s rebirth, whose bigger patriot I do not know, whose name - István Széchenyi- is mentioned with eager gratitude and faithful enthusiasm by all the Hungarians, as long as they are.

Lajos Kossuth

About the Széchenyi family

The Széchenyi family is one of the most popular families in Hungary. They had an outstanding position in Hungary's modern history and development. The fame and property of the family were established in the 17th century by two archbishops, György and Pál. Selfless and unconditional patriotism, a desire to make the country rise, seres of useful,

innovative intentions, at the same time respect for traditions, the living of the Christian ideal and spirituality, in one word all the noble traits which have been important for the Széchenyi family during the centuries, maybe it is not an exaggeration to say that this ideology was fulfilled in Count István Széchenyi.

Best Known Reformer

István Széchenyi “The Greatest Hungarian” merits are undisputed to this day. Epoch-making way influenced the modernization of 19th century Hungary both economically, culturally and scientifically way as well. His board vision, precise recognition and commitment to the nation made enabled a series of improvements, new regulations, institutional systems to be developed, which without Hungary would have lagged in the economic and cultural competition of European states. Széchenyi’s reforms had one purpose: the survival of Hungary, the renewal and construction of a pound, strong nation. The nation owes the introduction of the horse race to István Széchenyi, for him it was more than just and gentleman’s passion. The Count saw a strong national economic potential in horse racing, which was based on the strengthening of modernized horse breeding.

Without the selfless offer of István Széchenyi, the founding of the Hungarian Academy of Science in 1825 would certainly haven’t taken in decades. For Széchenyi the year 1825 enabled not only to establish the Academy but also the National Casino, which used to discuss social, economic and political views and developments. His ideas about the exact and precise formulations were published in several volumes (totally in 26) about the national economy, national strategy and culture which perhaps the most well known are the “Credit”, “World”, “Stadium” and “Lovakrul”.

Political involvement in the service of modernization

The political role for Széchenyi was never self-serving, nor was it his ancestors. He has put his influence in service of noble goals that still have an impact on Hungary's economy. Not forget about the regulation of the Danube-Tisza or the creation of a chain bridge connecting Buda with Pest, the embracing of the steamship on the Danube and the launch of the steamship on the Lake Balaton. The efficient animal husbandry has always been a matter of the heart, which he did effectively itself. Our Hungarian national treasure, in addiction o caring our mother tongue, he was passionate about the use of Hungarian as an official and officialese language.

Signs about the past

The base of Széchenyi István’s operations was his family and especially his father’s legacy. Many have processed his life and work in many ways, but about the spiritual legacy of his ancestors, we know much less(if we think only of the two archbishops). The facts of

Archbishop Paul's parsondom, as revealed by an investigation, also proved this. The question is therefore legitimate: how could the motivations and commitment of the greatest Hungarian extraordinary deeds be understood if we did not fully know the foundation on which it relied and built? Knowledge of the actions and spirituality of the family can serve as an example to follow not only for the professionals but for all of us.

We, today’s Széchenyi see that the desired time has come to follow the example of the “Greatest Hungarian” in a modern way: to strengthen our country with deeds.

That is why we established the Count Széchenyi Family Foundation, which won’t write new reform stories to our family yearbook.

Respect for predecessors

Count Ferenc Széchenyi


Count Ferenc Széchenyi, who was born in Széplak, Sopron county on 28th of April 1754, had a decisive influence on his lie when his widowed mother Countess Mária Cziréky decided to enrol his 18 years old son to the Viennese Collegium Theresianum, who has been studied at the Jesuits in Sporton and then in Nagyszombat. The city of Vienna lay beyond the borders of the country and at the Habsburg Empire. Many Hungarians felt at home in this city, in the comfort of the “west” lifestyle, while none of them remembered under the influence of their experience, how important would be to improve the domestic conditions as well, instead of derogation. Széchenyi remembered, which testifies the spiritual kinship of the father and son.

However, the Theresianum still meant a foreign country compared to the provincial Hungarian education stranded in obsolete curricula. The Collegium Theresianum, which had been operating for a quarter of a century at the time, was a 12-year complex secondary and college school in which more than a hundred young Hungarian magnates and middle-aged young people were raised. In 1772, Count Ferenc Széchenyi became one of its students, who enrolled on the upper administrative law course. Here, he acquired a wide range of language skills and proper knowledge in addition to modern general education. It's not even out of the question, that he learned to write perfectly in his mother tongue here, as at home the education’s language was Latin.

In the past, there were pedicure patriots who tried the Hungarian bibliophilic activity without devotion or generous sacrifice but unfortunately, they had to determine few of them was a lasting success that rewarded the work. Sometimes confiscation, the hard times during history and many cases the indifference of the heirs prevented their collection from becoming an institution that worthily represented the culture and cultural history of the Hungarians, serving the effervescence of intellectual life. Among others, Vienna always had an important role as a centre of the ruler, and the reachability of the sources has become harder for centuries.

To illustrate what has been said we can mention either the rare pieces of Ráday’s money collection that certain of Teleki’s Servetus work, but even more so the treasure of Nagyszentmiklós. The site is was named after the name of the current location is situated but also known as Attila’s treasure, so this treasure was founded in Toronto country in 1799 by a Romanian serf spade a 23 gold and silver vessels. The news of a Viennese merchant who bought the pots at a potom price became widespread and sold before he brought them to Pest. However János Boráros who was an enthusiastic apostle for the development of Pest - also had an etymological statue in Boráros square - seized it all and inventoried it. In this way, he tried to save the treasures of the nation. However, with the inventory the heavy machinery of bureaucracy began, in which after all, all the material was in Vienna and is there to this day. Unfortunately during this time, there wasn’t any institution in the country, which could be relied on by either the author or the parliament that these such an important finds place should be in the Hungarian national institution. István, son of Count Ferenc Széchenyi, wanted to remedy these shorthcomings in the fields of culture and economy, because of their European perspective he recognized that political independence must be preceded by achievements in the field of national culture and economy.

As we mentioned before the importance of the library and the librarian. In the Age of Enlightenment, several librarians were opened by minds such as Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, or the famous library in Wolfenbüttel, Gotthold Ewphraim Lessing just around the years of Széchényi's Theresian. The faculty of the Theresianum, which housed both secular teachers and Jesuit priests, also housed a European-renowned librarian, Jesuit Michael Denis. He is an interesting individual, a special feature of the intellectual life of Vienna, with whom Széchényi came into close contact and received professional book and library education from him.

He could study Hungarian books and manuscript rarities, Corvinas, and he could be filled with pride if he thought of the already mentioned inscription of the Court Library, according to which its foundation was laid by the famous library of our King Matthias. Here is another great basic experience of father and son, in the formulation of the boy: "We are not inferior to any nation!" This is evidenced by the great memories of our past, which are also an obligation. Again, the boy's famous words with their characteristic, rhapsodic pulsation centring: "Many people think: Hungary was - was; I want to believe: it will be!" Or in the words of the contemporary poet Kisfaludy Károly Mohács:

After long years, the sun for us arose :

Buda still stands,- there are Hungarians true Who yet shall triumph over their country's foes.

Inspired by patriotism let us see Rich promise in the future half-concealed.

With such determination, it was possible to return home from Vienna after a two onths. This is what distinguished Ferenc Széchényi from his compatriots. At home, he had a choice: take on public life or act as a patron? Which would be more useful for the country?

To some extent, it was not his decision, it was fate.

He began work in the public life forum, with good hopes. He endorsed and enthusiastically supported II. József's reform policy until he realized that it threatened the existence of the Hungarian nation. Therefore, in 1786, he retired from public life to dedicate his work as a patron from now on to the flourishing of the homeland culture. For this purpose, the Széchényi estate, on the one hand, the marriage with Countess Júlia Festetics, the sister of György, the founder of Georgikon, provided a suitable financial background. As a guide, he embarked on a study trip to Central and Western Europe in the spring of 1787 and did not return until the beginning of the following year. He sailed through England through the advanced cultural institutions of the Czech Republic, Saxony, Brandenburg, the Kingdom of Hanover, Westphalia and the Netherlands.

During his journey, in Prague, he admired the university library at the famous Jesuit College, Clementinum, which was enriched by Frantisek Kinsk’s sacrifice of 12,000 volumes, and in which librarian Karel Rafael Ungar recently set about compiling the Bohemica collection. It is classified as all works written by Czech authors or about the Czechs by foreign authors. In the Court Library of Dresden, he noticed that its main value was given by the private aristocratic collections that came there. He found a real sample library in Göttingen, with the collection method introduced by Leibniz, under his direction. This was followed by four months in England, where he had the opportunity to study, among other things, the famous Bodleiana Library in Oxford with a history of two centuries, or the British Museum in London and its library, which was barely half a century old at the time. In connection with his study trip, we mentioned only the most significant libraries, we did not talk about his acquaintance with intellectuals and scholarly societies.

He got home loaded with knowledge. He set out to find among the magnates, the educated the commonwealth, and the literary intelligentsia the men who longed for a caring, patron in the unfolding of national science. He also negotiated the establishment of a scientific society. In the meantime, he unexpectedly had the opportunity to travel abroad again. II. At the coronation of Lipót, in 1790, the King of Naples paid such reverent attention to the

Hungarian orders that they were awarded a commemorative medal in gratitude, and Ferenc Széchényi was asked to hand it over. It began in December 1791 on the Venice-Bologna-Florence-Rome route, and its return journey again through Rome to the cities of Pisa, Genoa, Turin, Milan, Parma and Venice. He could see classical libraries with a century-old history, such as the Vaticana in Rome, the Laurenziana in Florence as a collection of our King Matthias at the time, and the Ambrosiana in Milan. These experiences made him aware of his sense of domestic backwardness, as did his visits to the patinated institutions of the Accademia dei Lincei in Rome or the Accademia della Crusca in Florence.

He comes home in the next year’s summer. With full of plans started to organize and develop a larger proportion of the library collections. The old prosecutor and also his friend, the scientist József Hajós was invited to the castle of the Cenk’s family, who had been repairing the Horpás family tat in the past once. He now took it to Sopron. At Hajnóczy's encouragement, Széchenyi had been collecting Hungarica material from manuscript documents for a decade. Seeing the Bohemica Collection in Prague, he took the advice of his former professor, Michael Denis, to make an effort in this direction and supplement the collected material with books. He aimed to be as complete as possible: to obtain all domestic and foreign forms, regardless of their occasional nature, which is from a Hungarian author, or in any case concerning Hungary, which also includes maps. All this involved a lot of negotiations, large-scale correspondence, and the employment of agents, which did not escape Vienna's attention. No wonder, that he was also suspected during the revelation of Martinovics' secret organization. Because the accused included his colleague, József Hajnóczy, who was executed in the summer of 1794 in Vérmező. "How didn't you know about Hajnóczy's views, whom he's known for years?" -nailed the question to him during the investigation. "I've known the informant on me for years, I still know what scribbles mean about me!" he said.

The suspicion slowly drifted away from him. And he retreated to the solitude of Cenki and occupied himself with the development of his collection. Even at the time, there were few professional booksellers in Hungary, as mentioned before, he had to build a network of agents, which centres were the school towns, and the richest were the legacy libraries. An additional difficulty was that the task could not be assessed. How many products and what has Hungarian printing produced over the centuries? Only very rudimentary bibliographies were available for this purpose. The first significant summary was published by István Sándor's Hungarian Bookstore only in 1803.

Artlessly, Széchényi just only controlled it. The administrative tasks and the arrangement of the books were also performed by the educator of Lajos' son, Mihály Tibolth, who he had already taken with him on his trip to Italy. Tibolth began organizing the material in 1797, compiling the books according to the slightly modified curriculum of the Theresian Professor

Michael Denis: theological, history, law, medicine, mathematics, philology (along with pedagogy). Tibolth compiled an alphabetical and specialized catalogue of the material covering 7090 pieces, which was printed the following year, in 1798, in three volumes, with an appreciative preface from Michael Denis. Most of its 550 copies were distributed by Széchényi to professionals and institutions, with plenty of them sent abroad to show the country and the world what treasures the Hungarian spirit had created over the centuries. Encouraged his compatriots to get to know and enrich these treasures. Later he did the same with volumes exploring the manuscripts of his collection.

We do not miss the recognition in domestic and foreign fields neither. Professor August Ludwig Schlözer of Göttingen was one of those who often made critical and even derogatory remarks about the cultural conditions of Hungary, inflicting painful wounds on the souls of the Hungarian intelligentsia and nobility. Now he did not hesitate to describe these Latin words:

Coeptum opus, ad omnem posteritatis memoriam insigne futurum, congratulations animitus. Congratulate from the bottom of his heart to work he just has begun, wishing it to be a memorable adornment for posterity as well.

Among the Hungarian response is the praise of the writer Dávid Baróti Szabó, one of the editors of the first Hungarian literary magazine, the Hungarian Museum in Košice:

Széchényi, "you provided more than a royal treasure to our Homeland.

For what can be more beautiful, more useful, more necessary than the sciences? Using these, the more notable empires came to prosperity, the nations from savages to meekness, the craft of war, handicrafts, and trades to perfection. Without these, eternal forgetfulness would push things that happened; the memory of our valiant champions and our glorious ancestors would disappear, the country itself would not know itself (...) If I look at our older, distinguished Hungarian writers, they seem to be born again (...) you brought them to light from darkness (...) And when I look at the living Hungarian writers, you refreshed their sluggish activity. Could they expect a reward for their efforts? Because the money they spent on printing due to the harsh conditions did not pay off anyway. Means to them more than any reward that their works are placed in the National Library and handed over to those who want to read and protected against the vicissitudes of time. Who would not feel honoured to be included in your Catalog, and who would not be encouraged to do so among those dying Hungarians to ever wake up from their sinful dreams and turn their mental talents to public benefit (...) Lucky are those who can get closer to this great treasure; who can live with this when they like it! Be a good way to create a perfect big dictionary and gather the flowers of the Hungarians, among others. By other judgments, the foreign nations will come from our country (...) However, the great book that has been bestowed upon you by the country (...) will not cease to be Yours: Your bright name will bear it at all times and all the benefits that flow from it will be yours. will be attributed to the head of the well with due thanks. "

The printed book catalogue numbered just over 7,000 works. This is not a small thing, considering that a century after Széchényi's collection, the three volumes of Károly Szabó's Old Hungarian Library already knew more than 9,000 works that were published in Hungary or abroad in Hungarian or by a Hungarian author. Yet he only progressed until 1711. We can also reverse the problem: we could certainly have collected more books if we had already had the bibliography of Károly Szabó. Nor should we lose sight of the fact that Széchényi initially sought to compile a kind of Hungarian historical documentary archive, archival material, although his printed catalogue was published later than his books. The collection of books only came to the fore in the mid-1990s, following a trip to Italy. The manuscripts did not lose their significance either, as it was around this time that he bought copies of documents from legal historian Márton György Kovachich on Hungarian legal history memorabilia, which numbered more than 200 volumes.

The next question is whether it was bibliophilia to collect this vast amount of printed and manuscript material. Kovachich's manuscripts, for example, could hardly have served as an ornament for an Enlightenment castle library. However, it has become clear from our chapters so far that bibliophilia does not exclude the collection of manuscripts from its circle, and it does not consider beauty and spectacle as its exclusive goal. The bibliophilic character can also be given by the goal, and this was definitely in front of Széchényi: the establishment of a collection preserving the Hungarian spirit and the products of the Hungarian pen. On the one hand as a national cultural self-justification, and the other hand as a workshop for the research of the values ​​of Hungarian history and culture.

Knowing these goals, it became clearer and clearer for Széchenyi that the Cenk castle was not a suitable place for his library. It would be better to transport his oeuvre to a central location and transfer it to the country there. By the autumn of 1800, the intention had matured in him to move his collection to Pest, the intellectual centre of the country, and to give it as a gift to the "sweet homeland" as the national library that preserves the name of his family. The holdings at that time consisted of 5,132 volumes of books, 1,964 pamphlets, 730 bundles and volumes of manuscripts, 40 bundles of maps, 102 bundles of engravings, and 2,000 coats of arms.

To accomplish his purpose, in March 1802 he submitted to the king a "sovereign concession" that his collection, which in his own words "I had acquired over many years with much effort, care, and considerable expense, to my dear homeland, in whose lap I found an opportunity and a way to gather it all, to the public good to which I have always strived and will strive, ".

On July 2, he was able to record in his diary the information he received from his friend, Chancellor Károly Pálffy, about "His Majesty's consent to donate my books and other collections to my nation."

This is how, in addition to the national library named after him, the Bibliotheca Corviniana, the largest bibliophile in Hungary was created. And the second centenary of its existence will now be celebrated in the place where the building of its spiritual predecessor, once torn apart by the storm of history, stood: in the Buda Castle Palace.

So Széchényi's oeuvre proved to be timeless. Cenki's private collection became the Széchényi National Hungarian Library (Bibliotheca Hungarica Szécényiano-Regnicolaris), or the Széchényi National Hungarian Library (Bibliotheca Hungarica Nationalis Széchényiana), a national institution that the nation felt like from the first moment. It is customary to mention the news published by the Hungarian Hírmondó on January 2, 1803: The dignified Count's property would look out for his Bibliotheca, accept this little gift from him, and turn it into his majestic fire. "

After the year of the founding Kindi Matthias tanner master launched the donators and adds to a long list: artisans and aristocrats, writers and doctors, prelates and offered ditch - as the contemporary list is appointed by the Catholic clergy - Protestant pastors, teachers and public men as one proved that how pleased they welcomed Ferenc Széchényi's intention to establish a national library for the nation's intellectual treasures.

During the first twelve years, Hungarian society enriched the library with nearly 4,000 items, more than half of which were books and the rest were manuscripts, pictures and maps. From the circle of the gifting literary intelligentsia, György Aranka, Dávid Baróti Szabó, Gergely Berzeviczky, György Fejér, Ferenc Kazinczy, Sándor Kisfaludy, Miklós Révai, Sámuel Tessedik, Benedek Virág, from the best-known names, amog citiy citizens Mihály Landerer and Mátyás Trattner printer. We could continue the list with magnates and high priests, but rather than a corporate giver we need to highlight the Bratislava Chapel. As a result, in 1812, a decade after its founding, the collection, which has so far contained quite a few in this field, was enriched with precious ancient prints and codex treasures. Thus, the Pray Codex what was made for the Benedictine Abbey of Boldva became into the possession of the library at the end of the 14th century, which contains the oldest connected Hungarian language monument, the Death Speech. The codex was transferred from the abbey in the north-eastern part of the country to Transdanubia at the beginning of the next century, to Somogyvár then to the Benedictis of Deák, and soon to nearby Bratislava. There were 15 other codices in the gift of the chapter, almost the same number of ancient prints and 35 books, mostly from the

16th century, which were later included in Károly Szabó's bibliography Old Hungarian Library. Through these, the collection of medieval codices, ancient prints and partly old Hungarian prints gained a wider foundation in the library. Also in these early years, the library received three 16th century manuscripts from other donors, the Gömöry, Domokos, and Érdy codes from other donators. The first was Károly Gömöry, a pharmacist from Pest, the second is from the chapter of Banská Bystrica, and the third is a gift from Ferenc Stipcsics, abbots of Esztergom.

In fact, among the donors, we should have been mentioned in the first place, the founder itself. It would not be appropriate to be pushed into the background, even after 1802 he supplemented the shortcomings of the stock with domestic forms and foreign hungaricums on his expenses. He concluded all this by giving his library of 10,000 volumes of foreign works in the year before his death as an auxiliary library for his foundation, for which he spent 140,000 silver forints. Out of his generosity, several valuable old manuscripts have been added to the library, such as the prayer book decorated with miniatures, the manuscript entry of which can be assumed to be in the hands of King Matthias. Likewise, a dozen of Hungarian-origin prehistoric forms. For example, the Thróczy chronicle was published in both the Augsburg and Brno, or Schedel's World Chronicle which was printed in Augsburg in 1496. It is interesting to mention the 12-sheet ancient form used so often by foreign researchers today, about the Transylvanian Dracula voivode, notorious for his atrocities and captured by Matthias, which appeared in Lübeck around 1485, so still in the life of King Matthias. Among the ancient prints acquired by Széchényi, an interesting piece is the German text of the state treaty printed shortly after Matthias' death - Capitel der Bericht ... - which King Matthias and III. Emperor Frederick concluded in 1463 on the subject of the inheritance of the Hungarian throne.

There was also a Latin version of this work. It also appeared between 1490-1491, under the title Capitula concordiae. In connection with this, another initial great donor name aroused, the palatine József, who paid for each sheet of this work with one gold. From the very beginning, the institution owed much to this grandson of Maria Theresa, who was working on expanding the library into a museum four years after its foundation. Thus, he established an institution which in addition to the works of pen and printing ink, will also collect the archaeological and historical memories and natural peculiarities of the homeland. He thought about similar institutions like in his hometown Florence - his Father, II. Emperor Leopold and King were then governors of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany at this time- also in Rome, Milan, St. Petersburg, Berlin, Dresden, Cassel, Vienna, but not with a universal but exclusively a national gathering circle. And he has taken a pioneering role in this field.

At the proposal of the palatine, in the 1807 Parliament that they accepted and to protect the great gift of Ferenc Széchényi, the National Library, which already existed and functioned, and considered as the basis of the National Museum. The following year, in 1808, the Museum Act was passed, and the palatine was instructed to take the necessary measures, including the commencement of construction. With the entry into force of these laws, the Széchényi National Library, as the Library of the Museum, the Bibliotheca Musei Nationalis, which according to the law of 1992, took its name as the National Széchényi Library and ceased to be an independent institution, only one part of the new facility the Hungarian National Museum, was intended to serve the cause of Hungarian culture more widely.

However, the dearest “child” of his heart the library has remained among the many collections. He sent here the “copies of honour” to increase the stock, and bought manuscript and book treasures of unparalleled value at his own expense, as well as scholarly bequests. After the year following the foundation, for 12,000 forints he bought the library's extremely rich collection of manuscripts from Márton György Kovachich, from whom Széchényi had already bought similar material. On his travels abroad, he visited libraries and antiquarians to possibly obtaining old and rare hungaricums. Several auctions were held in Vienna, from the legacy of Professor Franz von Hildebrand, a bibliophilic book collector. Thus, for 100 silver forints, he received the first book printed in Hungary, the already mentioned András Hess Latin Chronicle in Buda, and a parchment-coloured, coloured decorative copy of the Augsburg edition of Chronica Hungarorum by János Thuróczy for 400 silver forints. This piece, which is still unique today, was presumably made for King Matthias himself. His recommendation was printed with a printing ink mixed with gold, and this method was used here for the first time in the history of printing. At the Hildebrand auctions, the palatine bought nearly 100 works, and at other auctions, in Vienna, he obtained pieces and manuscripts from the library of Mátyás Bél for the library. Thanks to his generosity, the history diver Kéler Gottfrid who works at the Transylvanian Chancellery in Vienna, bought his one-and-a-half-thousand Hungarica teak and manuscript documentary on 5,000 bill forints. Also contributed in fact that in 1814 he was able to personally fetch from Frankfurt the 12th-century St. Stephen's legend from the hands of Hartvik Bishop of Győr.

Since 1949 the museum and the library have become independent institutions. Out of the generosity of Ferenc Széchenyi and palatine József from 1808, the Hungarian National Museum was established.

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