Schmerling - 19th Century Encyclopedia Entries

Nordisk Familjebok 1904-1926, Meyer 1902-1909,

Nordisk Familjebok 1904-1926, Article : Schmerling (1916)
Schmerling, Anton von, Austrian statesman, born on August 23rd 1805 in Vienna, died there on May 23rd 1893, entered state service in 1829, became councillor of appeal in 1846. He was an opponent of the Metternich System, and thanks to his great talent liberal circles had great expectations of him. As a member of the Lower Austrian diet he came to play a major role in the March days of 1848. Afterward the new government sent him as their confidant to Frankfurt, where he actively took part in drafting a new constitution for the German Federation. In the German National Parliament which convened shortly after he represented Tulln. Archduke Johann, who by the assembly was elected president of the Empire, appointed him minister of the interior (July 1848); soon after he also was entrusted the ministry of foreign affairs; in reality he was chief of the Imperial cabinet. As the majority of the federal assembly was against the Austrian hegemony, for which Schmerling campaigned energetically, in December that year he resigned. In his double function as member of the assembly and plenipotentiary of the Austrian government he remained in Frankfurt, where he remained the leader of the "Great German" Party. After the King of Prussia was elected German Emperor, he returned to Vienna. Austrian minister of justice from July 1849, Schmerling introduced a judicial reform and drafted a law on courts which tried by jury. Already in 1851 he resigned from the cabinet, as his moderate liberal views were irreconcilable with Schwarzenberg's reactionary policy. Appointed president of the supreme court, Schmerling stayed away from political life until in December 1860 he was appointed minister of state. He now was charged with the reform of the Austrian state in the constitutional spirit, which the Emperor's "October Diploma" had prepared, and to restore Austria's reduced influence in the German Federation. The constitution of February 26th 1861, which in its main parts was his work, foresaw that the various parts of the monarchy should become a unitary constitutional state with a decisive overweight for the German element. This met stubborn resistance, especially among the Hungarians and Croats, and he did not succeed in implementing it, so that Schmerling was forced to resign (1865). He returned to his former function, which he held on to until 1891. In 1867 named lifelong member of the Austrian House of Lords, from 1879-1879 he served as its president.
See : Arneth, "Anton von Schmerling. Episoden aus seinem Leben. 1835. 1848-49 (1895).

source in Swedish, posted by Project Runeberg

Meyer's Konversationslexikon 1902-1909, Article : Schmerling
Schmerling, Anton, Ritter von, Austrian statesman, born on August 23rd 1805, died on May 23rd 1893 in Vienna, is from an old Lower Austrian noble family, studied law in Vienna, in 1829 entered state service, in 1846 was councillor of appeal. In 1847 he, whose liberal views and opposition to the Metternich System were generally known, was elected into the diet by the estates of Lower Austria, where he represented the interests of the burghers and peasants and spoke out for freedom of the press. In the movements of March 1848 he took active part, was member of the deputation which negotiated with the court over a constitution, helped with the organization of a National Guard. By the new cabinet dispatched to Frankfurt in April 1848, to partake in the debate on the draft of a constitution for Germany as their confidant. After Colloredo's resignation on May 19th 1848, during the last weeks of the Federal Assembly he held the presidency. By the city of Tulln in Lower Austria elected into Germany's parliament, here he joined the Party of the Constitutional Monarchy. On July 15th appointed Imperial minister by Archduke Johann, initially he administered both the portfolio of the interior and that of the exterior, but later only held on to the latter. But because he energetically represented the larger German, Austrian position and did not want to accept a Prussian hegemony, on December 15th 1848 he resigned his ministry and returned to Vienna, which city sent him to the Diet of Kremsier. Sent back to the Paulskirche parliament in Frankfurt as plenipotentiary by the Austrian government, as leader of the Austrians he counteracted against the Prussian hereditary Empire. After the Prussian Party on March 27th 1849 had held the upper hand, at the end of April he again left the assembly and returned to Vienna, where on July 28th 1849 as minister of justice he entered the cabinet Schwarzenberg, and created trial by jury. Disagreeing with Schwarzenberg's reactionary policy, in January 1851 he resigned and soon after became president of the senate of the supreme court, and in 1858 president of the supreme court in Vienna. After the federalist October Diploma had met resentment on the side of the people, Schmerling on December 13th 1860 was appointed minister of state and drafted the centralist basic laws for Imperial and territorial representations, which were made public by Imperial patent of February 26th 1861 (see Austria p.198). But this February Constitution met resistance, most of all in Hungary, vis-a-vis Schmerling took a wait-and-see approach, which was expressed in his quote "We can wait !". But also in the western half the Slavs were in opposition to Reichsrat and constitution. The Empire's unfavorable financial situation, the no longer secure support of the German Liberals, and a skillful attack of the Party of the Hungarian Nobles under Moritz Esterhazy, which caused the Emperor to visit Pest, caused the fall of Schmerling. First the entire cabinet was dismissed (July 27th 1865), then (September 20th) the February Constitution cancelled. Schmerling now took the presidency in the supreme court. From 1861 to 1866 he was member of the Bohemian, from 1861 to 1867 of the Lower Austrian diet; in 1867 he became lifelong member of the Austrian House of Lords, where he repeatedly served as first vice president, and where since 1879 he lead the opposition against Taaffe's system. On November 11th 1891 he retired as president of the supreme court and only held on to the curatorship of the Theresian Ritter Academy. Schmerling remained faithful to his political Liberalism as much as to his Austrian spirit. He left behind hitherto unpublished memoirs. A part of them were used by A. v. Arneth, Anton Ritter von Schmerling, Episoden aus seinem Leben. 1835, 1848?1849 (Prag and Wien 1895).
source in German, posted by Zeno


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First posted on August 2nd 2009

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