The Beginnings of Modern National Cultures

Freemasonry and the natural sciences were manifestations of the Enlightenment that transcended ethnic divisions and served as a culturally unifying force. However, there were other tendencies that, directly or indirectly, had a more differentiating impact. Transylvania experienced concurrently the Enlightenment and the rise of national consciousness.

At first, the emergence of national consciousness was not politically oriented. When the Enlightenment reached Transylvania, the scope of politics was highly restricted: the diet did not meet between 1761 and 1790, and there were no other national political forums. Of the three Transylvanian nationalities (which were no longer considered as feudal 'nations'), the Saxons had no particular need for a separate political movement. For one thing, they were protected by their privileges; for another, the presence in the highest decision-making circles of the influential Sámuel Bruckenthal, once a student and freemason in Germany, and now an eminent conservative statesman, guaranteed an effective defence of their interests. Transylvania's Hungarians did not develop, prior to 1790, a political opposition that might have given rise to a national movement. The Romanians, for their part, were still in the midst of nurturing a distinct national consciousness.

The period was marked by the invigoration of distinct national cultures. The Saxons enjoyed the most favourable circumstances. Saxon students continued to attend German universities. In 1774, those at Göttingen included Michael Hiszmann, Martin Lang, Karl {2-676.} Bruckenthal, and Johann Filtsch. Göttingen's Königliche Deutsche Gesellschaft nurtured links with the Saxon intellectual elite; Filtsch, Joseph Eder, and A. Wolf were elected to associate membership in 1799. After completing his studies, Hiszmann remained in Göttingen and became a prolific translator of English and French philosophical works, as well as an Enlightenment philosopher in his own right. He denounced metaphysics, probed psychological issues, sharply criticized Wolff as well as Leibniz, and stood by Lessing in the latter's debate with Goethe. Hiszmann's orientations curtailed any possibility of a return to Transylvania. The Lutheran bishop, Andreas Funk, prohibited the dissemination of his philosophical 'letters', and he had no prospect of finding employment; when he expressed a wish to go home, his friends dissuaded him from attempting it. He aspired to the chair of philosophy at the University of Pest, but his untimely death intervened before he could achieve that goal.

The theatre was an even more effective link with Germany's cultural life. After the departure of the Bodenburg touring company, the next visit by a German troupe in Szeben occurred in 1771. The next year, an Italian opera company performed in the town. Lambert Möringer, a Gubernium councillor, had an auditorium constructed at his home in 1776. It was there that, two years later, the Hilferding company performed Lessing's Emilia Galotti and the stage version of Werther, as well as plays by Goldoni, Voltaire, and Beaumarchais; and where, in the 1780s, the Seipp company, which had moved from Germany to the Habsburg lands, put on performances for two seasons. After 1783, Möringer's auditorium was put to other purposes, and when Dünevald's touring company came to Szeben in 1787, it performed in various makeshift theatres.

The first permanent theatre building in Szeben was built in 1787–88 by Martin Hochmeister, a printer, bookseller, and newspaper publisher, and the Seipp company played there for the next three seasons. Their repertory consisted mostly of works by {2-677.} Schröder, Iffland, Beil, and Gotter, but they also put on Hamlet and two other plays by Shakespeare, two of Molière's comedies, one by Beaumarchais, Lessing's Emilia Galotti and Minna von Barnhelm, Schiller's Die Räuber and Kabale und Liebe, and Goethe's Clavigo. Szeben's theatrical life suffered a decline after 1792, when government offices were transferred to Kolozsvár. Touring companies also visited Brassó in this period.

These theatrical activities contributed to the invigoration of literary life in the Saxon lands. Szeben's Theatralischer Wochenblatt, a journal that reached beyond drama to encompass general literature, began publication in 1778, although it would have a short life. Its contributors covered a wide range of literary styles and epochs: Gellert, Wieland, Lessing, and Goethe among Germans, as well as Sterne and Diderot. Above all, the journal served to chronicle contemporary literature from Germany and other foreign lands. The Saxons themselves produced few literary works, perhaps because they had access to the best of their mother country's culture. The first novel by a Transylvanian Saxon, I. (Läpprich) Lebrecht's Das unerkannte Verbrechen oder die Merkwürdigkeiten Samuel Hirten-dorns, was published at Kolozsvár in 1778-80. While allowing that the work bore some marks of rationalism and the Enlightenment, Friedrich Teutsch dismissed it as 'a novel about soldiers, knights, and outlaws, devoid of literary value'.[1]1. Teutsch II, p. 264.

Saxon historiography was of a higher calibre, perhaps because it was more intimately linked to national culture. Johann Seivert was among the more noteworthy of the period's Saxon chroniclers. He contributed articles to Éva V. Windisch's Ungarisches Magazin, in Pozsony, on Saxon church and lay notables: Lutheran bishops, Szeben's parish priests, Saxon counts, Szeben magistrates, and provincial mayors (Provinzialbürgermeister). His major publication was a work cultural history, entitled Nachrichten von siebenbürgischer Gelehrten und ihren Schriften. In the 1790s, an informal historical association was formed on the initiative of another historian, J.C. Eder.

{2-678.} Another sign of the Saxons' cultural development was the expansion of services to the reading public. Part of the Bruckenthal book collection was open to the public. Szeben's first lending library opened in 1782. Two years later, some literary-minded people formed a reading club that met at first in a café, then in a room provided by Samuel Bruckenthal in his museum. Bruckenthal retired from his post of governor in 1787, but he remained a leading figure in Saxon political and intellectual life. Reading circles (Lesezirkel) and reading rooms (Lesekabinet) were also established in Brassó, Szászsebes, and Szászrégen. In 1798, the reactionary policies of Emperor Francis put an end to such activities. Educated Saxons came into contact with contemporary German culture through not only the theatrical productions in Brassó and Szeben, but also the printed word. The catalogue of a bookseller who had opened shop in 1780, at Szeben, included Lessing's Emilia Galotti and Nathan der Weise as well as Goethe's Götz von Berlichingen. Saxon readers were familiar with the poetry of Kleist, Klopstock's Der Messias, Gessner's idylls, and Campe's Robinson.

The Enlightenment coincided with the appearance of periodicals. The first Saxon newspaper, the Siebenbürger Zeitung, appeared in 1784 and was published and edited by Martin Hoch-meister, who promoted all manner of cultural activities in Szeben. In 1788, with due regard for the war, the name was changed to Kriegsbothe, and, in 1792, to Siebenbürger Bothe. Apart from political reports, the paper — which initially appeared twice a week — contained feature articles on phenomena of nature and other topics. Its supplement, the Siebenbürgische Intelligenzblatt, offered economic information, such as market prices, as well as official notices, advertisements of products and personal ads, and notices of auctions. Publication began in 1790 of a more scholarly and scientific journal, the Siebenbürgische Quartalschrift.

Saxon cultural life thus acquired some structure, and encompassed a growing number of educated or at least interested people. {2-679.} Paradoxically, its main handicap was easy access to the best of Germany's flourishing culture, which, by its very excellence, inhibited local creative endeavours.

An educated Transylvanian Hungarian contended with wholly different sources and constraints if he wished to pursue literary activity. The possibilities were limited for exploiting the literary legacy of the preceding period, which had produced only one great literary figure, Kelemen Mikes. That devotee of Rákóczi had followed his master into exile, to Rodostó, in Turkey. His writings, which reached a wider audience only around 1794, became a lasting source of inspiration for Hungarian patriots. Mikes was a man of exceptional spirit and intellect; schooled by Jesuits, he eventually moved toward great religious tolerance, then to sympathy with Jansenism. He was influenced by Montesquieu and had read Bayle's Dictionnaire, one of the basic works of the French Enlightenment. His was the patriotism of an emigre; he felt passionate love for Transylvania and yearned to see his country change for the better. His writing style is an outstanding example of Hungarian Rococo. Acquaintance with the French spirit reinforced his natural optimism and openness; for him, literary models served not as constraints but as liberating forces. Mikes adopted the French epistolary model, composing letters to an imaginary aunt. The writing is clear, replete with captivating imagery as well as judicious humour, and exudes Hungarian patriotism. His writings can even today be read as living literature. Mikes's writings make him a dominant figure of 18th century Hungarian letters in Transylvania, but he was not part of the country's literary life between 1711 and 1770.

Most of that period's literary output took the form of memoirs and journals, but Kata Bethlen's autobiography proved to be last truly meritorious work of the genre. This widowed aristocrat had been driven by the violence of the Counter-Reformation to adopt an increasingly bigoted Calvinism. She promoted the publication of {2-680.} religious tracts, building a paper mill for this purpose, and took Péter Bod under her wing. Only some two hundred years later did her literary merits win full recognition, from Hungarians in search of their cultural ancestry.

Although Péter Apor produced a lengthy journal, his most important work was Metamorphosis Transylvaniae, a pamphlet about the changing state of his country. This Transylvanian Catholic aristocrat, the son of István Apor, became embittered in later life at not having been appointed councillor on the Gubernium. Apor's outlook reflected not only the personal disappointment of an old man but also his conservatism. Yet his is an uncommon case in Hungarian literature, for his conservatism aimed to preserve authentic values. Apor did not match the elegant style of Kelemen Mikes, but while his baroque plays on words in Metamorphosis are more laboured, they retain a vivid quality to this day. Among other diarists, Mihály Cserei is the best known, but his main merit is a clear writing style; in his journal, this Transylvanian from the middle nobility rails variously against the aging Mihály Teleki, the new aristocracy, and the villeins who rallied to Rákóczi ('Dig, hoe, for the golden ring does not belong in the noses of swine'). Cserei, at least, was a character, if not a wholly sympathetic one. In comparison, the others are mere journeymen whose journals are replete with descriptions of calamities, epidemics, and 'omens', along with accounts of family events and the dates of journeys. There are occasional reports on meetings of the diet, but, on the whole, these journals are only slightly more interesting than the banal diaries of Saxon parish priests. Written in a lighter vein, József Hermányi Dienes's Nagyenyedi Demokritusz (Nagyenyed's Democritus) presents colourful, at times acerbic anecdotes and is of greater literary merit.

This, then, was the literary legacy of the preceding period: the unread manuscript of an outstanding, modern writer in faraway Turkey, memoirs that appeared to be a dying genre, and journals of {2-681.} narrow scope and little literary merit. Transylvanian readers only had access to a few handwritten copies of some of these works. Yet the Hungarian intelligentsia, in Transylvania as well as in Hungary proper, felt drawn to, and inspired by the literary works of their contemporaries in western Europe. Their source was not Szeben, where the plays of Lessing, Goethe, and Schiller were produced by German troupes, and where the latest masterpieces of German literature could be obtained in the bookshops, but a place closer to the fountainhead: Vienna. By an odd but understandable twist of fate, Transylvania's Hungarian-language literature of the 18th century came to be born in Rodostó and Vienna (and, perhaps, in the guest-rooms of manor-houses in Upper-Hungary).

The literary pathfinders of the Enlightenment were found among the royal guards. Maria Theresa recruited Hungarian noblemen into her personal guard, as a baroque ornament on the edifice of absolutism, so to speak, and reserved some places for young Transylvanian nobles. For a time, this contingent would serve as the most important workshop of Hungarian culture.

In terms of literary achievement, György Bessenyei was the most important of these guard-authors, followed closely by the Transylvanian Ábrahám Barcsay. The latter's branch of the family had not sought a barony — probably less out of Protestant diffidence than because of a simple wish stay out of the new aristocracy. Barcsay devoted more of his talents to singing the praises of peace than any other Hungarian poet, and it is a minor historical joke that he reached the rank of colonel before retiring from the army; fortunately, his poetic humanism was not damaged by military life. His yearning for peace was inspired by illuminism and an Arcadian classicism:

'Egész Európa ilyen nyavalyában
Fetreng, és romlását neveli magában,
Több a hadakozó, mint a szántó-vető,
Több a pap és here, mint a kereskedő.
A szegénység első, második a rabság,
Azzal tűnt az erő, ezzel a szabadság!
... a természet önnön-igazságát
Visszakéri megint ember szabadságát.'
[All Europe wallows in misery,
Nurturing its own decay,
There are more soldiers than labourers,
Merchants are outnumbered by priests and idlers.
Poverty rules, and then oppression,
The first saps our strength, the second liberty!
… invoking a right inherent in nature,
Man demands to recover his freedom.][2]2. 'Barcsay Ábrahám költeményei' in L. Vajthó, ed., Magyar irodalmi ritkaságok XXV (Budapest, 1933), p. 25.

The expression of such Enlightenment notions carried some risk. Still, at least until 1790, Barcsay steered clear of the political opposition, seeing no reason to reject the Habsburgs' enlightened absolutism. When, in 1780, patent letters were granted, amidst much pomp and ceremony, to the University of Pest, Barcsay wrote:

'Nevel benneteket Apolló nevében
S kard helyett tollat ád fiatok kezében.'
[It will educate you in the name of Apollo
And put in your sons' hands a pen instead of the sword.][3]3. Ibid., p. 22.

And, in another poem on the same occasion:

'... már nem Bellónához
Hívlak, hanem Pállás dicső templomához.
{2-683.} Nem kíván ő rablást, sem véres kopjákat,
Hanem tudománynak szentelt éjtszakákat;
Hanem szelídséget, s erkölccsel jóságot,
Vesszen el a karddal erőszak munkája.'
[... it is no longer to Bellona
That I call you, but to Pallas's worthy temple.
She expects, not pillage or blood-stained gravestones,
But nights devoted to learning;
She demands gentleness, morality and benevolence,
Noble passion, true humility.
Let violence disappear along with the sword.][4]4. Ibid., p. 23.

The influence of illuminism on Barcsay's outlook is evident in his biting epitaph to a drunken priest, who symbolizes boorishness and the superfluity of organized religion:

'Kápolnák, templomok! felszentelt oltárok!
Malasztért hozzátok én azért nem járok,
Hogy a Teremtőnek magasb kárpitjában
Dicsőitést lelkem többet lel magában.'
[Chapels, churches! Consecrated altars!
I do not need these to seek divine grace,
For my soul finds greater comfort
Amidst the Creator's celestial trappings.][5]5. Ibid., p. 46.

In a poem that may have been composed before 1770, Barcsay joined the best of Europe's Enlightenment authors in deploring the fate of faraway people living in colonial servitude:

'Irigy Európa!
Mit keressz a ligetes Amerikában,
A vad embert miért űzöd barlangjában?
Viseljed a szegény szerecsen aranyát...'
{2-684.} [Envious Europe!
What are you seeking in America's groves,
Why do you hunt savages in their caves?
You must sport the gold of the wretched native...][6]6. Ibid., p. 28.

'This is the bloody sweat of an enslaved black man', pondered Barcsay as he drank a cup of coffee: 'A wise man will recoil at sipping from a cup / A share of the sins of Englishmen'.[7]7. Ibid., p. 45: Rab szerecsen véres verítékgyümölcse.../ A bölcs iszonyodik, látván, egy csészéből / Mint hörpöl ő is részt Anglusok bűnéből. His enlightened humanism extended to Native Americans as well as the black people.

Nor was this quintessentially European spirit indifferent to the customs of the Hungarians' neighbours. His poem about the Romanian custom of maiden's markets is replete with signs of Arcadian classicism. And he cared about his own nation's culture. In a poem entitled Magyar vers-írásra való ösztönzés ('An incentive to compose Hungarian verses'), he wrote: 'May we not wail in our mother tongue / Or soulfully lament a lover? /.../ Let us mourn free Gyöngyösi's Muse'.[8]8. Ibid., p. 63: 'Avagy nem lehet-e nyelvünkön jajgatni, / Vagy pedig szeretőt szívesen siratni? /.../ Sirassuk meg szabad Gyöngyösi Múzsáját'. Barcsay would conjure up the spirit of the late István Gyöngyösi in other poems as well: 'Let him return to his own people, / And make them love their mother tongue'.[9]9. Ibid., p. 22: 'Térjen onnét vissza megint nemzetéhez, / S adjon kedvet neki született nyelvéhez'. Welcoming Sándor Báróczi's translation of Jean-François Marmontel's work, he wrote: 'Oh! fine sciences, / For long you have abandoned my dear nation! / You have spoken to us in foreign tongues'.[10]10. Ibid., p. 71: 'Oh! szép tudományok, / Kedves nemzetemet meddig elhagytátok! / Idegen nyelven szólottatok hozzánk'.

Barcsay brought a breath of modernity to Transylvanian letters with his enlightened outlook (though he remained loyal as long as possible to the Habsburgs' enlightened absolutism), his sympathy and understanding for Transylvania's other nationalities, and an 'active love' for his mother tongue. The merit of this Maros Valley landowner and royal guardsman lay not only in his ideas but also in his poetic powers. Yet he has come to be regarded as a minor figure in Hungarian literary history. Greater poets followed in Barcsay's footsteps, eclipsing his fame; some of his finest poetic images are evoked in the odd verse of Mihály Csokonai Vitéz or {2-685.} Dániel Berzsenyi. When, reading Barcsay's poem 'The approach of winter', a Hungarian reader reaches the verse 'The whistle of the northern winds, / The fall of leaves in the pale woods', he will promptly complete it with the later poet's line 'Already Boreas rumbles over Kemenesalja.[11]11. Ibid., p. 20. 'A télnek közelgetése': 'Éjtszaki szeleknek süvöltő zúgása, / Halovány erdőknek levele hullása'. ('Zúg immár Boreas Kemenesalja fölött'.) When he reads Barcsay's verse 'Thus fell great Corinth, Athens and Rome, / Thus fought Paris the disease of vanity', his mind will skip to the famous poem A magyarokhoz (To the Hungarians).[12]12. Ibid., p. 35: 'Így dőlt Corinth, Athén, Róma nagyságával / Így küzködik Páris hívság kórságával'. The lines written by the restless guardsman in Vienna, 'I devote my life to solitude / I will not be prisoner to the world', leads a poetry-loving Hungarian to respond with Csokonai's 'Blessed solitude'.[13]13. Ibid., p. 43: 'Az én életemet a magánosságnak / Szentelem, nem lészek rabja a világnak'. ('Áldott magánosság'.)

The other Transylvanian literary figure among the guardsmen is Sándor Báróczi, whose work is considered to represent the beginnings of modern Hungarian prose. In fact, Báróczi was a translator, and not an author; but he gave Hungarian readers access to novels wonderfully rendered into their language. The first work that he translated was Cassandre (Kassándra) by Bernard de la Calprenède, a 17th century French author of vast 'heroic novels'. By his own account, Baróczi translated this story of a prince and princess of Scythia in order to offer Hungarians give some light, historical reading written in clear Hungarian. Kassándra's influence on historical knowledge was mercifully slight, but it had all the more impact on literary consciousness: the Hungarian reader could finally read a novel in his own language! Baróczi next translated Contes moraux (Erkölcsi levelek), by Marmontel, a moderately talented but popular French author of the 18th century. The publication of this work, in 1775, was a landmark in the development of Hungarian narrative prose. Around the same time, Báróczi also translated some of the 'Moral letters' of an inconsequential German writer named Dusch. And then, for a long period, this pioneer of modern Hungarian prose would neglect literature, not because of some hostile intrigue or prohibition, but simply because he became absorbed in alchemy.

{2-686.} Only in 1790 did he turn his attention back to literature, when he joined the debate over a question raised by the work Hadi és más nevezetes történetek (Military and other notable stories): Do the Hungarians need Latin? His reflections on the matter were published in a pamphlet entitled A védelmeztetett magyar nyelv (The defence of the Hungarian language). Báróczi argued that Hungarian could be gradually brought into general use in the country; other national groups should be persuaded to adopt it, and this process could be accelerated if Hungarian and other children learned each other's mother tongue (a notion that also surfaced in reform proposals of the Transylvanian estates after 1790–91). Then Báróczi returned to his attempts to produce gold. He would still dabble in translation, and even wrote an original novel, but these later works are considered of lesser merit.

Also of lesser merit is the third Transylvanian guardsman-writer, József Naláczi. Although he wrote some original works, only a translation survives, that of Edward Young's Night Thoughts on Life, Death, and Immortality. As for Dávid Baróti Szabó, described as 'the fountainhead of the new poetic Hungarian language' and as 'God's gift of a linguistic genius', he was born in Transylvania but pursued his career in Hungary.

The invigoration of Hungarian literary life in Transylvania did not bring with it the publication of periodicals. However, Transylvanian Hungarians were well represented in the periodicals published in Hungary and Vienna. Pozsony's Magyar Hírmondó, founded in 1780 by Mátyás Ráth, had several Transylvanian Hungarian contributors, including József Benkő, Sándor Szacsvay (a co-editor in 1784–86), Dániel Pánczél, and Sámuel Andrád. In 1786, Szacsvay launched Vienna's Magyar Kurir and its literary supplement, Magyar Musa. In 1793, Dániel Pánczél founded, also in Vienna, the Bécsi Magyar Merkurius and its literary supplements, Újj Bétsi Magyar Muzsa and Bibliotheca. In the 1780s and 1790s, notes a historian, 'Transylvanian Hungarians regarded {2-687.} Pozsony and Vienna as the centres of their intellectual life and, to an even greater extent, of their literary journalism'.[14]14. Elek Jakab, Hírlapirodalom, p. 11. Inside Transylvania, the only attempt at publishing a Hungarian newspaper was that of Martin Hochmeister, who, in early 1790, launched the Erdélyi Magyar Hírvivő. This paper, which probably did not last long, was no more than a translated version of the Saxon Kriegs-bothe.

Shared intellectual values, geographical proximity, personal contacts and friendships all ensured that this sudden resurgence of literary activity among Transylvania's Hungarians should form an integral part of the development of Hungarian cultural life in general. In some cases, it is hard to judge whether a particular author should identified with the culture of Transylvania or, alternatively, with that of Hungary.

Among the three national groups, the Romanians were culturally the most disadvantaged at the time of the Enlightenment, and their accomplishments are therefore all the more creditable. The time had not yet come for Transylvanian Romanians to venture into pure literary creation. Their immediate task remained that of forging a national consciousness, by reinvigorating a process interrupted by the demise of Inochentie Micu-Klein. In the 1790s, the most significant cultural figures in Transylvania's Romanian community were Samuil Micu-Klein and Gheorghe Şincai, who, along with Petru Maior, formed a famous triad. Diverse factors had influenced them in their formative years.

Samuil Micu-Klein had the deeper Romanian roots. For some five or six years, while a student at Balázsfalva, he shared quarters with Gherontie Kotore, who had been propounding the theory of the Romanians' Roman ancestry ever since the early 1740s. Between 1766 and 1772, Micu-Klein studied philosophy and theology at Vienna's Pazmaneum; it was in that period that he copied an ancient Wallachian chronicle, the Cronica Bălăcenească. His historical outlook was evidently influenced by Cantemir's Hronicul, {2-688.} which he retrieved from the effects left behind by Inochentie Micu-Klein. But the years spent in Vienna shaped his awareness in other spheres as well. With the spread of the Enlightenment, the dominance of the Jesuits at Vienna's theological faculty began to wane. After the introduction, in 1752, of a new curriculum, the teaching staff became marked by a certain secularization; some Jesuit professors departed, some subjects came to be taught by members of anti-Jesuit orders, and the latter took control of the institution. From 1766 onwards, the course on canon law given by a follower of Febronius, Joseph Riegger, was compulsory for all students at the Pazmaneum. Then, after 1768, theology students were required to take the course on Polizey- and Kameralwissenschaft given at the faculty of philosophy by the famous Viennese illuminist, Joseph von Sonnenfels. All this helps to explain why Samuil Micu-Klein chose to translate into Romanian the strongly Gallican work on church history of Claude Fleury; why, upon his return in 1773 to Balázsfalva, the text he used in his course on ethnics was Friedrich Baumeister's Elementa philosophiae recentioris, which had been published in 1771 by Kolozsvár's Calvinist college; and why he and his assistant, Ştefan Pap, with whom he had launched a new course on studium philosophicum, were responsible for the introduction at Balázsfalva's seminary of the latest textbooks from Vienna. When, in 1774, Samuil Micu-Klein arrived (along with Petru Maior) at Rome's Collegium de Propaganda Fide, his national outlook was already fully formed. It was, observes a historian, 'a distinctive amalgam of religious communitarianism, historically-based nationalism (i.e., Daco–Romanism), and the qualified, Viennese version of Enlightenment'.[15]15.Z. I. Tóth, Klein Sámuel és az erdélyi román felvilágosodás (Kolozs-vár, 1947), p. 22. Micu-Klein published several works during his subsequent stay in Vienna. In Elementa linguae Daco-Romanae sive Valachicae (1780), he laid the foundations for the Latinization of the Transylvanian Romanians' language. A prayer-book, published in 1779, was the first work to be written in the Latin alphabet and with a non-Hungarian spelling. {2-689.} His Historia Daco-Romanorum was also completed before 1781. As will seen, he would become involved in the movement that led to the Supplex Libellus Valachorum.

The schooling and outlook of the triad's second major member differed in many respects from those of Micu-Klein. Gheorghe Şincai, like Petru Maior, attended the Calvinist college at Marosvásárhely, then spent some time in Kolozsvár. At Balázsfalva, where he taught in 1773–74, he found himself in a wholly Romanian milieu. Although Şincai, too, went on to Rome for further study, he cites only a few documents from the Vatican archives in his historical survey, Hronica. The work does draw on scholarly sources from all east European nations, especially Hungarian ones: Transylvanian archives, records of the Transylvanian diets, and collections of Gábor Hevenesi, Dániel Cornides, Ferenc Széchényi, and Márton György Kovachich. Şincai had personal contact with many a Hungarian cultural eminence. While in Vienna, he befriended Kovachich and was acquainted with József Benkő, Cornides, and Lipszky as well as the historian István Katona. In the course of his peripatetic existence, he relied more than once on the support of the aristocratic Wass family, and he would be buried on their estate.

Şincai's outlook on the nation and history was essentially similar to that of Samuil Micu-Klein. He found some support in the view that prevailed among humanistic scholars, Saxons and Hungarians alike, at mid-century, and which laid emphasis on the idea of historical continuity. Şincai devoted great energy to implementing the educational reform policies associated with enlightened absolutism. As superintendent of Transylvania's Uniate public schools, he founded schools in twenty-seven villages, spread over seven administrative districts, just in the period 1787–89. The common claim, that he established three hundred public schools, may be an exaggeration, but he made an immense contribution to the development of the Transylvanian Romanians' school system. He published a Latin–Hungarian–German–Romanian primer for use in {2-690.} the Balázsfalva school, then an exclusively Romanian primer for the other schools, as well a Latin text, a primer in arithmetic, and a catechism.

The major works of the triad's third member, Petru Maior, belong to the next historical period, but it is worth noting a few other prominent representatives of the Romanian Enlightenment in Transylvania. Ion Budai-Deleanu studied at Vienna's Sancta Barbara college, and it was during his stay in Vienna that he began work on a Romanian–German dictionary and translated into Romanian an official handbook for teachers. As in the case of Maior, the larger share of his political and literary activities falls in the post-1790 period.

That was not the case with Ioan Piuariu-Molnár. Like the two Micu-Kleins, he was born in Cód; his father, 'Popa Tunsu', had been defrocked by Bishop Aron. A Greek doctor taught him the rudiments of ophthalmology, and in 1768, at the age of nineteen, he started to exercise this skill; in order to obtain the qualifications necessary for setting up regular practice, he obtained a master's degree in ophthalmology at the University of Vienna in 1774 — the first Transylvanian Romanian known to have acquired a medical degree. Although Piuariu-Molnár later studied surgery and internal medicine at Vienna, he continued to limit his practice to ophthalmology. By 1776, his professional expertise had become recognized not only throughout Transylvania, but also in Moldavia, where he treated the ruler in 1797. Over time, his circle of patients would include leading boyars and their entourage in Moldavia as well as Wallachia.

Piuariu-Molnár's career reached a peak when, in January 1791, he took up a professorship at the Kolozsvár academy and began to teach a course based on Plenck's textbook. Among his many other activities, the establishment of a textile factory has already been noted. He also compiled a Romanian–Hungarian dictionary, translated into Romanian a German text on obstetrics, and {2-691.} even tried in 1793–95 to launch a Romanian-language newspaper. He was in touch with the Transylvanian–Hungarian Philological Society and drafted plans for a Romanian philosophical society. In 1782–84, he actively promoted the creation of Romanian public schools. He even dabbled in politics at the time of the Horea uprising; though charged with the task of calming the peasantry, he adopted the role of mediator.

Piuariu-Molnár's father had been defrocked and persecuted for opposing religious union, and he himself was an active supporter of Orthodox schools. However, the emblematic figure of Transylvania's Romanian Orthodox intelligentsia was Dimitrie Eustatievici. After studies in Kiev, he became a teacher at the Orthodox school in Brassó and published, in 1757, a Romanian grammar. In his case, a heightened sense of Romanianness did not lead to rejection of the liturgical Greek language of Orthodoxy; on the contrary, he lauds it in the grammar. In politics, he joined those who sought to recognition of the Romanians as an Illyrian nationality. After the establishment of an Orthodox bishopric in Transylvania, Eustatievici served as secretary to two bishops, Dénes Novákovics (Dionisie Novacovici) and Sofronie Kirillovics. At the time of Joseph II, he supervised the curriculum in Transylvania's Orthodox schools; to remedy the shortage of teachers, he organized a series of six-week teacher-training courses, each of which en-rolled some 11–12 students.

Following the death of Petru Dobra, there were, for a time, no Romanians in high public office, but several Romanians occupied posts at the Gubernium and the Transylvanian court chancellery under Joseph II. István Koszta reached the highest rank. Towards the end of Joseph's reign, he was named councillor on the Gubernium, and he later became national chancellor (cancellarius provincialis) — one of the so-called key offices (officia cardinalia) — with responsibility for supervising the administrative work of the Gubernium. This senior official was a model of diligence and precision; {2-692.} there survive thousands of official papers covered by his meticulous, pearl-shaped penmanship. At the time Josephinism gradually fell into decline, Koszta was the official who had to handle the most unpleasant and risky tasks. József Méhesi, whose father was the Uniate archdeacon of Kolozsvár, had been Koszta's classmate at that town's Jesuit college. Méhesi studied law at Vienna, where one of his teachers was Sonnenfels, then, in 1775, joined the staff of the Transylvanian court chancellery. In 1788, Joseph II proposed to appoint him councillor on the Gubernium, but Méhesi, invoking his modest financial means, declined the offer. In his capacity as secretary to the chancellery, he would draft the Supplex Libellus Valachorum.