Proclamation of Emperor Franz Joseph

Proclamation of Emperor Franz Joseph

  • Место: Olomouc
  • Date: 15 December 1848
  • Material: paper
  • Technique: printing
  • Dimensions: 56,5 х 55 cm
  • Inventory number: ZI 468

The proclamation was issued in the royal capital Olomouc at a time of decisive importance both for the Empire, which was threatened by the Hungarian insurrection, and for the Serbian movement, which was rent by the struggle between the conservative followers of the Patriarch and a liberal-national faction. The proclamation was signed by Emperor Franz Joseph and Count Stadion, and it bears the stamp with the imperial coat-of-arms. In this missive sent from the highest place "to the brave and faithful Serbian people, which has always distinguished itself by its loyalty to the Imperial Court and by its valiant resistance to all the enemies of the Throne and the State" it is stated, among other things, that "for the sake of the welfare and progress of the Serbian nationality it is ordained that the highest ecclesiastical dignity of the Patriarchate be restored as it was in former times and united with the office of the Archbishop of Karlovci". The Archbishop of Karlovci then in office was Josif Rajačić. The same decree re-instituted the histortical title "voyvod of the Serbian people" and conferred it on the imperial General-Major Stefan Šupljikac. The proclamation, which ends with the promise that "after the restoration of peace, one of the first and most urgent of our fatherly cares will be the establishment of an internal order based on the equality of our peoples" was issued and signed by the emperor at Olomouc, in emigration. And it was received just as it was written – also in emigration. In October 1848 Rajačić had left Karlovci and taken refuge in Zemun because of the proximity of the front and because of his conflicts with the Chief Committee, most of whose members had remained at Karlovci. During his stay in Zemun the Patriarch issued various instructions and orders, gradually acquiring great political power and steering the Serbian movement towards collaboration with the Court. As for the imperial general, it is not known how long, if at all, he stayed in Zemun, for he died soon after his return from Italy. During a formal inspection of the troops sent from Serbia at the front near Pančevo on 15 December 1848 he was suddenly taken ill, and "in less than ten minutes, the Duke passed away". If Zemun and its inhabitants did not have an opportunity of greeting Šupljikac in his lifetime, they could do so after his death – "after the 17th [of December] his body was transferred to Zemun after a solemn funeral service attended by numerous people, including the former commanding general Piretta (Pire). A great number of people and clergymen gathered on the bank of the Danube to receive him. They took him to the church, where, on the orders of the Patriarch, the Medal of the Iron Crown – a sign of imperial favour – was placed on his dead breast." Thus the inhabitants of Zemun took leave of Duke Šupljikac, whose remains were then taken to monastery Krušedol, a foundation of Despot Branković' family. Thus two high dignities of the Serbian people - the ducal power and the despotate – were symbolically associated.

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