237. After the war.
“…Her Majesty's Government had taken no steps to offer their mediation between Austria and Hungary, and the Austrian Government had intimated no desire for such mediation.”
Tempest on the Thames.
Palmerston, HC Debate 11 May 1849
“That oath was taken on the 11th of April, 1848, by the Emperor Ferdinand II.; he guaranteed the existence of a separate diet; he guaranteed liberty of the press; he made those promises in 1848; he broke them perfidiously in 1849. Should he be told, with these proofs, that the Hungarian kingdom was not as free and independent a kingdom as Hanover, or any other kingdom attached to a larger State? The perfidy of this Austrian Court had never been fully and fairly put before the people of England.”
Palmerston, HC Deb 21 July 1849
“He passed over the commercial advantages which would be derived by this country, and they would be very great, for our ancient ally, of which hon. Gentlemen and noble Lords heard so much, had always imposed a duty of 60 per cent on English merchandise. He passed over the commercial advantages to be derived by this country by the recognition of the free and independent kingdom of Hungary.”
Bernal Osborn, HC Deb 21 July 1849
“He sometimes forgot the promises made to him, the commitments he made, the duty of his high position, but he never forgot one thing: that he was Habsburg.”
Princess Radziwill about FJI
While the fighting was going on, the British government was busily engaged in doing nothing because, and this applied to all political class, it was facing a dilemma. On one hand the Hapsburg monarchy was considered an important factor in maintaining a balance in Europe and restraining the infringement of Russia upon the potential
British commercial interests in the Danube region with the optimistic assessment of such a potential up to 16,000,000£. On another hand, it was pointed out that FJI is not an “ally” because there is no active mutual defense treaty, that his claim to the Hungarian throne is illegitimate (and so are his actions), that even his imperial title is rather a matter of courtesy because so far it was not confirmed by the Electors (who were reluctant do say “yes” until the Hungarian issue is settled out of fear to get involved in an ongoing conflict ending up on a wrong side) and even his accession to the Austrian throne was result of a coup by the unsavory reactionary camarilla. Then, the methods used by his troops in Hungary were not acceptable: of course, everybody agreed that application of force to the lower classes may be a regrettable necessity but flogging the noble women
and hanging the Protestant
and Catholic priests could not be defined as anything but “atrocity”. As for the potential
profits, they surely were not happening under the Austrian rule because it was taxing the British imports at 60%.
Situation changed after the Peace of Bruck was signed because this peace was surely strengthening the Russian position in the region. But “testing the water” on the continent did not indicate any significant pro-Austrian sentiment. FWIV of Prussia had nothing against his nephew getting the Hungarian crown because, the family links aside, this was strengthening Prussian position within the HRE making the Erfurt Union more attractive. Prince-President of France was only glad to see Austria weakened both because this may simplify future strengthening of the French position in Italy and because he fully expected that independent Hungary will be more open to the French trade interests than Hapsburg monarchy was; plus, of course, there were family links and mutually advantageous partnership with Russia. Among the German Electors Wurttemberg was pretty much in the Russian pocket, neither Saxony nor Bavaria were eager to stick their necks out for Hapsburg’s sake and more or less the same applied to most of the rest with the possible exception of the political and territorial nobodies like Elector of Salzburg and Elector of Würzburg.
As a result, the best course was seemingly to denounce FJI and proclaim support of the Hungarian cause. Of course, with the independence already won, the practical value of such a support was minimal but it was positioning Britain on the right side.
“It had been said, look how you have been treating your ancient ally as if the claim of the Emperor Francis Joseph to the kingdom of Hungary was a legal claim. He maintained, in the face of all Europe, that the Emperor Francis Joseph was at this time an usurper in the kingdom of Hungary. He maintained, that by the laws of Hungary he was, technically speaking, a "foreigner" at this moment, and that as such he was not able to take the throne. He was neither king de facto or de jure, till he was crowned, and had taken the oaths according to the compact. What was the third article of the Hungarian constitution coo-firmed by Ferdinand I. in 1596, sworn to in 1790, and again in 1848?— The King of Hungary cannot be discharged from the duties of sovereignty without consent of the nation, the Diet having the appointment of a regency in case of incompetence or resignation of the King.What course had been pursued? This unfortunate and well-meaning Emperor, our "ancient ally," Ferdinand II., had been shuffled off the throne, and Francis Joseph, not the lineal successor, but the nephew, was put upon the throne. Would any one say, that Francis Joseph was at this time rightful King of Hungary? He said, that Francis Joseph might be Emperor of Austria. He was not King of Hungary. He was at this moment an usurper—a foreigner to the institutions of the Hungarians, who were engaged in a righteous and holy cause.”
Even the term “insurrection” freely used earlier now required a clarification. Lord J. Russel explained “that when he used the word insurrection, he thought he had applied the proper term. He did not, however, mean to assert by that term that this was an unjust and unprovoked insurrection. He had used the term which he thought at the time was most applicable to the case.”
To which Mr. Ralph Bernal contributed: “ The noble Lord was quite correct; he used the term without reflection, which, although signifying illegality in this country [Britain], in Hungary signified what was legal and right; for when they made a levy en masse in defence of their liberties, the Hungarian term used, was insurrectio; and when the Hungarian diet in 1741 said, Vitam et sanguinem pro nostra rege, that was insurrectio in the Hungarian sense of the word; that was, indeed, an insurrection in a good sense. It was the legal term of Hungary. Long might such insurrections be in fashion!”
As a result, the diplomatic dust had been settled and congratulations to the newly-crowned King Szilard I of Hungary had been extended. The Russian troops, to everybody’s relief, had been marching home leaving the former Grand Duke to build his liberal paradise.
Hapsburg Empire (problems, problems)
With the war being over FJI finally got himself formally elected as the HRE Emperor and was now free to subject his remaining subjects to what he considered to be a “paternal care”: after all, the Hapsburg Empire was supposed to be one big family of which he was a father.
Of course, he was facing very serious problems and some of them required immediate solutions, especially one. The Emperor had a habit to get up at 4am and make a stroll across the halls of Schoenbrunn. At that early time the servicewomen had been cleaning the dust in the halls, many of them staying on the ladders to clean things placed high on the walls. Etiquette required that at the Emperor’s appearance each of them must do a curtsy. The question was how can they doing it while staying on the ladder? Situation was desperate and had been discussed by the imperial ministers with no obsolution found until Prince Schwarzenberg returned from his diplomatic mission and declared that “the Emperor does not notice the servicewomen.” And this was just one of the countless challenges facing FJI. Admittedly, most of the rest were much less serious.
The period 1849–60 was later called the Neoabsolutist era because it was the last effort by an Austrian emperor to provide good government by relying solely on bureaucratic
effectiveness. In doing so, it was the legitimate
descendant of the governments of Joseph II
and Metternich. After Schwarzenberg’s death in 1852, the new regime passed largely to the direction of Alexander, Freiherr (baron) von Bach
, minister of the interior and a competent bureaucrat
Despite its reputation as a repressive instrument, Bach’s government was not without positive accomplishments. It established a unified customs territory for the whole monarchy, composed a code for trades and crafts, completed the task of serf emancipation, and introduced improvements in universities and secondary schools. He also reduced freedom of the press and abandoned public trials and allowed the Catholic Church to take control over education and family life. His reforms of the military had not been too successful and came at the expense of a slower economic growth.
The emperor himself ran the military, as head of a newly centralised supreme command, with four armies headquartered in Vienna, Verona and Prague. The emperor intervened in the direction of operations in all aspects of the military. His adviser was Field Marshal Grunne, who was patronised by Archduchess Sophie, the emperor’s mother, and was the former chamberlain of Franz Joseph. Army expenses exploded over the next decade reaching up to 42% of the budget while at the same time as army effectiveness declined. Pay remained abysmally low, even though there were plenty of candidates. The officer corps was more than fifty per cent foreign-born by 1859. In July 1852, a univeral conscription law was passed, with eight years in full service and two in reserve but it never was fully enforced and few of the recruits had been kept for the full term. New weapons, such as the percussion rifle, had been introduced but training and tactical support did not follow. Pay, rations and rate of a corporal punishment did not change noticeably. Only artillery and newly-created gendarmerie service got an adequate attention.
By 1848 the industrial revolution already started in Lower Austria and Czechia. Actually, the first British-made steam engine had been installed on one of the factories in Brno in 1816 and by 1840s there were 30 of them with the numbers slowly but steadily growing. The railroads construction started but by 1846 their total length was only 148 km. The problem which was facing the Hapsburg Empire now was that it used to count upon the cheap raw materials and agricultural products coming from the lands of Hungarian Crown and, at least for a short while, this will not be the case. Of course, iron, coal, lead and other materials had also been available in the areas which remained under the Hapsburg control. Due to availability of large reserves of coal, iron, as well as other resources Bohemia and Moravia accounted for 90% of coal production, 82% brown coal production and over 90% of steel smelting. The timber and wood-processing industries kept growing but so far mostly for the domestic consumption.
And, because the Hapsburg territories still being predominantly agricultural, the food was not a critical problem so the situation was, contrary to a popular definition, serious but not desperate. Another favorable factor was closeness of Czechia to the German border - the German states were traditional consumers of the manufactured products of that region.
With the adjustment to the loss of the income from Hungarian territories, the revenues kept steadily growing. Putting aside the extraordinary receipts from the Sardinian war indemnity and the Lombardo-Venetian confiscations, the transformation of the Austrian peasant into a landholder has of course increased the tax-paying power of the country and the revenue derived from the land tax . At the same time the abolition of the patrimonial courts brought the income, which the aristocracy had formerly enjoyed from their private administration of justice, into the coffers of the State, and this branch of revenue has been constantly increasing since 1849. Then a considerable increase arose from the income-tax, introduced by the patent of October 29, 1849. This tax has proved particularly productive in the Italian provinces of Austria.
But on this the good news were pretty much over because financial situation was anything but cheerful. The disturbances in Galicia, at the end of February, 1846, augmented the public expenditures by more than 10,000,000 florins compared with 1845. The army expenses were the principal cause of this increased outlay. They amounted to 50,624,120 florins, in 1845, but in 1846 raised 7,000,000 more, while the administrative expenses of the provinces rose 2,000,000. In 1847 the commercial crisis and the bad harvest produced a great diminution in the excise revenue, while the army budget rose to 64,000,000, chiefly in consequence of troubles in Italy. The deficit of that year was 7,000,000. In 1848-9 the revenue of whole provinces was lost, besides the war expenses in Italy and Hungary. In 1848 the deficit was 45,000,000 florins, and in 1849, 121,000,000.  State paper of compulsory currency, to the sum of 76,000,000, Three-per-Cents, was issued in 1849. Long before this, the National Bank had stopped specie payments, and its issues were declared by the Government to be inconvertible. The paper money had been discounted at 60% and the expenses kept “progressing” in the same direction. During the Hungarian Revolution Austrian National Bank lost 53% of its silver forcing the government to forbid export of gold and silver out of the country. The attempts to obtain foreign loans failed and the government had to start domestic forced “borrowing” with the further fall of the paper currency. Only in the middle 1850s there will be a comprehensive reform which put finances in order … and caused negative reaction of the conservatives who did not want any serious changes in anything.
Hapsburg Empire. FJI.
With the war over and ending not as bad as it could, those who mattered at the Imperial Court had feeling that the young idiot …oops … The Emperor must get married and start breeding ASAP. His mother was considering a set of the suitable options including Austrian Archduchess, Prussian princess, Saxon princess and the princesses from the House of Wittelsbach.
Finally, she opted for Helen, the eldest daughter of her sister Ludovika of Bavaria. Her main advantage was that she was pious. In 1853 the prospective bride with her father, mother and younger sister Elisabeth (Sissi), 15 years old, met with FJI at Bad Ischl. The Habsburgs were famous in the world for their art of arranging boring dinners; but this time they surpassed themselves - someone wrote that "even tablecloths breathed boredom." This was probably due to the mood of the young emperor: he was darker than the thundercloud. And when the dinner was over, the emperor did an indecent act - probably the only one in his life: he approached not the older sister, but the younger one and offered to show her his horses. Returning from a walk in the park, he announced to his mother that he was marrying, but not Princess Elena, but Princess Elizabeth. The amazement of Archduchess Sophia, her anger, references to resentment, scandal did not help; the cardinal summoned to exhort Franz Joseph did not help. The emperor said that he had already made an offer and that the case had been decided. They married in 1854.
There was a quiet, modest marriage ceremony in parish church of the Hapsburg court a short walk from Hoffburg. The ceremony was conducted by Archbishop of Vienna with only 1,000 guests in attendance including 70 bishops.
While Elisabeth, generally known as Sissi, did not mind to become an empress, tolerating her husband in the big quantities was a different story and she was absent from the court as much as she could traveling extensively. FJI compensated for her absence by having a number of the affairs, the most long-lasting of which were two running simultaneously: with Anna Nahowski it was just sex and with Katharina Schratt it was more “compatible companionship”. When Anna was finally dismissed she got a severance payment of 200,000 guldens “for the 14 years in service of the emperor”.
In his official capacity he spent no effort to make his court “The most magnificent and the best organized in the world”.
Which meant one with the most elaborate etiquette. Never has any of the emperor's relatives addressed him except with the words "Your Majesty", moreover with the mandatory use of a third person plural .
At dinners, the Archdukes sat down at the table not by the seniority of age, but by the seniority of the line of the genus: the 20-year-old Archduke of the senior, Tuscan line sat higher than the 70-year-old Field Marshal Albrecht from the second line; the last place was taken by Archduke Rainer, the oldest member of the family, but the youngest in the line. The rules regarding the nobility were even stricter. The emperor, who had an extraordinary memory, knew the genealogy of all Austrian aristocrats and strictly reckoned with it - he was visiting only the princes of Liechtenstein and Auerspergs (according to other sources, also the Harrachs).
The most difficult question was the question of shaking hands. Franz Joseph gave his hand from the Austrians only to ministers and members of the most noble families recorded in the second part of the Gothic almanac. At the receptions, the emperor, going along the line of the guests, shook hands with young men belonging to families from the Gothic almanac, and only nodded his head to old dignitaries from less noble families: those who did not know him sometimes saw it as an insult or a sign of disfavour, asked them to explain, etc. According to an eyewitness, the emperor remained "completely indifferent" to this. The problem was with the cardinals: shaking hand would be unsuitable for a cardinal and kissing a ring unsuitable for the emperor.
The emperor was unusually polite to the ladies: he let even 16-year-old girls forward, opened the doors in front of the ladies himself and never sat down at the table until the last lady sat down.
Franz Joseph got up at 4 o'clock in the morning, drank a glass of milk and worked until noon: he read various documents and wrote orders with his clear handwriting; then from 10 he gave audiences and received reports. One of the first reports was made by the palace commandant, who reported that the day before their residents left Burg and returned, in particular the young Archdukes: the guards were ordered to write it down.
At noon, breakfast was brought to the emperor's office on a tray. At 12:30 the work resumed and lasted until five hours. Then the guests were received. Vienna's society was divided into two groups, between which, however, there was a long distance. The first group of visitors to Burg consisted of "their own", old Catholic nobility, with ancient titles not lower than Count's: Schwarzenbergs, Liechtenstein, Auerspergi, Harrachians, Paars, Waldsteins, Lobkovitsy, Kinsky, Klam Martinitsy, Tups. It's funny that these families were called "Das eigentliche Milieu", "Higher World" or simply "Das Milieu" - in Parisian argo this word means a completely different environment - criminals. The "own" were followed by the second layer: the nobility ancestral and service, and later in the reign of Franz Joseph - the richest bankers and industrialists, led by the Rothschilds. Most ministers, generals and diplomats came out of this circle. They were accepted at court, but they were not considered their own and were not mixed with their own. After lunch, the emperor's friend, artist Ekaterina Schratt, came, and he played tarok with her for an hour and a half. I went to bed at nine o'clock in the evening.
The order of the day was somewhat disturbed in the days of court balls and ceremonial performances - Franz Joseph did not like either and could repeat the famous phrase: "Life would be quite acceptable if it were not for entertainment." The arrivals of foreign guests did not give him much pleasure.
Speaking of the balls, there were “court ball” and “ball at court”. The first was happening in the end of January. From a letter written by Franz Joseph to Elisabeth:
“Today is the great Court Ball, which, as always, will be a rather arduous pleasure. The ball was very crowded, particularly large numbers of ladies, dancing as well, not many pretty ones among them, not hot at all. I was in my room by 12.
This was a huge affair with around 2,000 guests: in addition to Court society as such (that is, the nobility
who were ‘presentable at court’ and those who held ceremonial Court positions), high-ranking representatives from politics and the Church together with the serving officers of the Vienna garrison could attend. This represented a certain opening up of the otherwise extremely exclusive Court society. Only the highest-ranking guests received a personal invitation from the Emperor; the rest of the court was ‘informed’ that their appearance was requested at the ball via an official bulletin. The date was traditionally fixed by the Empress; however, Elisabeth was known to put off this social duty, which she disliked intensely, for as long as she could. The ball officially started at eight o’clock in the evening. At half-past eight the Obersthofmeister (the head of the Court household) reported to the Emperor that the guests had arrived. The cortège or train then formed itself, with the senior court officials taking up their positions according to rank around the imperial family. After the welcoming of the diplomatic corps, which could take up to an hour, the imperial family made its entrance at around half-past nine. It was not until this point that the court ball orchestra struck up. The Court Ball ended at midnight at the very latest when the imperial couple withdrew, which was the sign to the guests that it was time to leave. As a leaving present visitors received the famous Court bonbonnières, a coveted souvenir that was proudly shown off at home. There was not too much of a dancing because there was hardly enough room for it due to the large number of guests.
Two weeks later the ‘Ball at Court’ took place: here the crème de la crème of the aristocracy were amongst themselves, as only those who were ‘presentable at Court’ were eligible to attend and were invited personally. It was thus a correspondingly more intimate and aristocratic event: no more than 700 guests were invited, and they were given a fine dinner with service at table instead of a buffet.
 The land tax system existed since at least the reign of Joseph II and had been based upon the surveys that were dividing the land into a number of categories based upon the expected profitability. The system was quite complicated and provided a great opportunity to the favoritism based upon the personal connections and even expected political loyalty. Obviously, the well-connected Austrian noble landowners always had an opportunity to maneuver their big estates into the less taxable brackets. Now, with the serfdom abolished and most of the peasants being individual landowners, the government could get much more taxes from the same territory just by reclassifying category of the land from the lower to higher bracket. The peasants had no money, influence or knowledge to fight the administration with any chance of success.
 I must confess that I’m lost in the Austrian money. One quoted article had numbers in florins while another, for the same period, in guldens. Probably, if I dig deeper, I’ll find something in Mongolian tugriks.
 I did not get it.
 Cheap bastard: Russian court balls season included multiple events with much more generous food service. And not enough room for dancing… Well, build yourself a bigger palace.