Franz Josef von Saurau

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Franz Graf Saurau, lithograph by Friedrich Lieder and Alois von Saar
Franz Josef Graf Saurau, oil painting by Heinrich Friedrich Füger

Count Franz Josef von Saurau , also Franz Joseph von Saurau (born September 19, 1760 in Vienna , † June 9, 1832 in Florence ) was an Austrian politician from the Saurau family . The Saurau family is related to the Goëss and Mayr-Melnhof families .


Franz Josef was a direct descendant of the youngest son Siegmund Friedrich of the governor of Styria, Karl Graf von Saurau (1587–1648). His parents were Count Maria Karl von Saurau (1718–1778) and Maria Antonia Countess Daun (1735-?).

He received his first education from a Jesuit priest, and his final school-leaving exam took place at the Theresian Knight Academy in Vienna. He entered the civil service early and worked on the preparations for the so-called "Josephine cadastre". In 1789 he officiated as city governor of Vienna, the following year he already acted as district president of this city and shortly afterwards as finance and police minister of Vienna. Count Saurau made a name for itself together with the Viennese police chief Count Johann Anton Pergen in 1794, when both set up the show trials against a group of democrats. He led the investigations that led to the discovery of the Jacobin conspiracy. As a result, there were several executions, including the Austrian Franz Hebenstreit and the Hungarian Ignaz Martinovics , and over 50 serious prison sentences (including against Andreas Riedel ). The indictment was mainly based on interpretations of the defendants' ideas and statements by informers. Pergen and Saurau, with their anti-revolutionary practices, were among the forerunners of the later Austrian State Chancellor Metternich .

Count Saurau was since 1795, as the successor to Count von Sauer, District President of Lower Austria and one of the most important advisers to Emperor Franz II . When the French advanced in 1797, he organized the resistance in Vienna and then took over the Ministry of Finance until 1801. In 1801 he acted as the imperial representative at the coronation of Alexander I in Saint Petersburg . After several years in smaller offices, he was honored in 1810 with the title of governor of Vienna. Later he was governor of Lombardy (in the Kingdom of Lombardy Veneto ) and was appointed ambassador to Madrid in 1817 . From 1817 to 1831 he was Supreme Chancellor in the Vienna city government. From 1823 he was head of the Austrian court chancellery .

In 1830 he was appointed ambassador to Florence ( Grand Duchy of Tuscany , at the court of the Habsburg Leopold II ), where he also died in 1832.

Achievements and awards

Today it is mostly mentioned in connection with the origin of the original Austrian imperial anthem . He commissioned Joseph Haydn , who had just returned from England and had got to know the profound effect of God Save the King, with the composition . The song was supposed to be used for propaganda purposes against the French Revolution and its songs, also known in Vienna. It was presented to Emperor Franz II on February 12, 1797 as a birthday surprise.

Other merits of Saurau were the planning and construction of the Wiener Neustädter Canal and progressive proposals for modernizing the school system and increasing the efficiency of the civil service.

In addition, he played an important role in the development of the Styrian State Library .

The University of Pavia made him a Doctor of Philosophy in 1817.
In the 1780s he was a member of the Prague Masonic Lodge Truth and Unity as well as the Viennese Lodge for True Unity .

In his honor, Carl Ludwig von Willdenow named a plant species he first described in 1801. The name Saurauja proposed by Willdenow was ultimately changed to Saurauia . Willdenow was director of the botanical garden in Berlin and received specimens of a Saurauia species from the Schönbrunn garden in Vienna through Baron von der Lühe with the approval of Count Saurau . As a thank you, Willdenow named the newly discovered plant genus after Count von Saurau.


Web links

Commons : Franz Josef Graf Saurau  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Dr. Walter Brunner: Premstätten Palace, Graz 1989, p. 193
  2. Austria and the Haydn Hymn (PDF; 259 kB) from June 2009, accessed on September 26, 2009.
  3. ^ Franz Josef Graf von Saurau, a character picture of his time. Inaugural dissertation, University of Graz, 1948, p. 35 ff.
  4. ^ Wiener Zeitung, quoted from Aarauer Zeitung , No. 43, 9, April 1817, p. 214, column 2 ( digitized version )
  5. Ges. Naturf. Friends Berlin. New fonts. 3.1801, 407, t. 4th
  6. ^ RD Hoogland, RE Schultes, DD Soejarto: Proposal for the Conservation of the Generic Name 5109 Saurauia Willdenow (1801) against Saurauja Willdenow (1801) . In: Taxon . tape 26 , 1 (Feb.). Vienna 1977, p. 147-148 , doi : 10.2307 / 1220231 .
  7. ^ Franz Karl Just: Franz Josef Graf von Saurau, a character image of his time. Inaugural dissertation, University of Graz, 1948, p. 51 ff.