Open main menu

The American Cyclopædia (1879)/John (archduke of Austria)

< The American Cyclopædia (1879)

JOHN (Johann Baptist Joseph), archduke of Austria, ninth son of the emperor Leopold II, and Maria Louisa of Spain, born in Florence, Jan. 20, 1782, died in Gratz, May 10, 1859. He was carefully educated, and in 1800, when but 18 years of age, was made commander-in-chief of the Austrian army. He pressed forward into Bavaria, encountered the French under Moreau at Hohenlinden, and suffered a grave defeat there (Dec. 3), which was quickly followed by a second at Salzburg (Dec. 14). After the conclusion of peace in February, 1801, he became director-in-chief of the departments of fortification and engineering throughout the empire. He especially interested himself in the welfare of Tyrol, and after serving as minister of war from 1803 to 1805, he was appointed in the latter year to command the army stationed in that province. After the separation of Tyrol from Austria, he planned through Hormayr the rising of the Tyrolese in 1809 against their new masters, and commanded with success the army operating there and in Italy, defeating the viceroy Eugene (April 16) in an important engagement near Sacile, but retreating when he heard of the critical situation of Vienna. On his retreat he suffered two defeats (on the Piave and at Raab), nor was an attempt to join his forces with those of his brother at Wagram attended with better fortune. He resigned his command soon after the peace of October, 1809, and was afterward but little concerned in military affairs. He lived in retirement in Gratz, a city on which he conferred many public benefits, till 1848, when he was elected vicar of the empire (Reichsverweser) by the Frankfort parliament. In this capacity he chiefly devoted himself to protecting the interests of the house of Austria against the growing preponderance of Prussia; and this course he continued after the nomination of the Prussian king as emperor. On the expiration of his term of office (Dec. 20, 1849), which in the mean while had become merely nominal, he again retired to Gratz. He contracted a morganatic marriage in 1827 with Anna Plochel, the daughter of a Styrian postmaster; and by her he left one son, the count of Meran.