Another “Youth of March”: Irányi Dániel

Karolina Tima Szabó

Another “Youth of March”: Irányi Dániel

Irányi Dániel in his later years; his memorial in the Kerepesi úti cemetery

The Paris revolution of February 22nd, 1848, then the March 13th Vienna revolution paved the way for March 15th,  when the youth of Budapest took to the streets, demanding more radical reforms.  The 12 points were written: “Mit kiván a magyar nemzet? Legyen béke, szabadság és egyetértés” – What does the Hungarian nation want? – Let there be peace, freedom and harmony.  This was the headline of the petition  publicized throughout the city.  Leaders of the Youth of March were Petőfi Sándor, Jókai Mór, Vasvári Pál, Irinyi József, followed by many others.

One of those others, Irányi Dániel, played a major role in the Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence of 1848-49 against the Habsburg rulers.  He was the son of Halnschuck Dániel and nemesszéki Czabkay Zsófia Cecília, born on February 24th, 1822 in Toporc.  After his early schooling in Eperjes, Késmárk and Rozsnyó, he studied law and philosophy.  His parents were German, so he changed his name officially to Irányi in 1847.

After Eperjes, he moved to Budapest, where he became the most sought-after lawyer.  He met Kossuth Lajos, and many members of the Pesti kör (Pest Circle), and the Ellenzéki kör (Opposition Circle). 

He became the secretary of the Batthyány cabinet, then a parliamentary representative of Pest-Lipótváros, and finally a commissioner (kormánybiztos).

After Jellaċic’s attack, he volunteered for the army. He fought in the battle of Pákozd (see September 2019 issue of Magyar News Online), the Budamér battle (December 4th), and the battle of Kassa (January 4th, 1849). After the defeat at Kassa, he resigned as commissioner, and followed the parliament to Debrecen, where the parliament declared the Habsburg-house to be deposed.

He was a supporter of Kossuth’s politics, and strongly opposed the politics of the Peace party (Békepárt).

In the April 14th, 1849 parliament, he was the one who recorded the minutes.  After the liberation of Pest, he was named government commissioner with full powers.

In the summer of 1849, he led the uprising against the Russian invasion. As the war situation turned worse, he followed the parliament to Szeged, then to Arad.  A day or so before the surrender at Világos, he got into an argument with Commander-in-chief General Görgei Artúr, and escaped first to Szatmár then to Bereg County.  In January 1850, he escaped to Switzerland, then went to Paris.  He was sentenced to death in absentia.  To save his life, his older brother Irányi István claimed he was Dániel.  His life was spared by the intervention of Count Szirmay István.

During Irányi Dániel’s time in emigration, he wrote for newspapers and taught English, Latin and German.  He wrote for the French publications Siècle and Presse, and the Italian Opinione.  He was a correspondent for Brussel’s Independence Belgium, and Milan’s Allianza.

He kept in touch with the other emigrants, and was part of the Hungarian emigrant cabinet.  He also spent time in Belgium, Great Britain, and Switzerland. 

After the Hungarian-Austrian Compromise of 1867, Irányi did not return to Hungary; he refused to take the oath which was required for amnesty.  Although absent, he was elected as parliamentary representative of Pécs on March 14th, 1868.  After that he went back home, but he never took the oath.

Until his death, he was a member of parliament, represented Pécs, then Békés city.  He was elected president of the “Negyvennyolcas Fϋggetlenség” (the 1848 Independence) party.  He was honest, his ethics and moral character were recognized and respected even by his political opponents.

One of the important works of Irányi is “Női jellemvonások a szabadságharc idejéből” (Female characteristics from the time of the Freedom Fight). It was published in the Magyar Újság in 1868.

Irányi died on November 2nd, 1892 at Nyíregyháza; he was buried three days later in Budapest in the Kerepesi úti cemetery.  The eulogy was given by Eötvös Károly, writer, lawyer and politician.

Karolina Tima Szabo is a retired Systems Analyst of the Connecticut Post newspaper and Webmaster of Magyar News Online.  She is the proud grandmother of two.