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FRANZ JOSEF - Exceptional Bound Document Signed with Seal 1881 regarding railways in Hungary

  • £1,800.00

FRANZ JOSEF of Austria (1830-1916)

Document Signed (“Ferenc Jozsef”) as Emperor of Austria and Apostolic King of Hungary, countersigned by Baron Kemeny Gabor, stating the provisions of an Act granting a permit to Erno Daniel and the Hungarian Bank Share Company to build and operate a local railway line between Kikinda and Nagy Berek in Hungary.
20 pages folio on vellum in Hungarian, bound in dark brown morocco with gilt tooling. Franz Josef’s red wax seal, c. 8½ cms in diameter, in its original brass skippet, is attached with gold and silver thread. Vienna, 29 December 1881. 

An extremely attractive and elaborate document. On the first page, Franz Josef’s titles are calligraphically decorated in gold, silver and colours with the arms of Hungary at the head within an elaborate border. The second and last pages are also calligraphically written and decorated, with the text in gold. The remainder of the text is written in black ink in a small, neat hand, with significant words highlighted in gold. Each page of text has a decorative gold border.
The document sets out the details of the conditions attached to the permit to build and run the railway, under thirty headings. At the time, the Austrian Empire was run by an all-pervasive, sometimes clumsy bureaucracy, and the document attempts to anticipate all eventualities. The Act gives details of the number of lines, the regulations regarding the structure, the buildings, the signals, the stations, the equipment, the running of the services, the transport fees and the taxes. Erno Daniel, the licencee, must communicate with the telegraph office about constructions works and with the army about transport for military purposes. If, during construction, it is found that any changes are necessary to the plans, permission must be sought from the government.
In 1867, Hungary was granted greater autonomy and the Austrian Empire was transformed into the dual monarchy. Franz Josef became King of Hungary as well as Emperor of Austria, much to the joy of his wife, Empress Elizabeth. Their last child, Archduchess Marie Valerie was born a year later, and the Empress insisted on the birth taking place in Hungary. Both Elisabeth and her son, Crown
Prince Rudolf, who was to die at Mayerling in 1889, were strongly sympathetic to Hungary’s desire for greater independence, but their ideas were not shared by Franz Josef, who saw the rise of European nationalism during his reign steadily erode the unity of his Empire and Austria’s influence throughout Europe.
The purple silk ties attached to the binding are defective, but apart from this, the condition of the manuscript and its impressive binding is virtually pristine. 


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