The Habsburg Monarchy and the Projects for Division of the Ottoman Balkans, 1771-1788

June 29, 2018 | Author: Boro Bronza | Category: Documents



Published as: The Habsburg Monarchy and the Projects for Division of the Ottoman Balkans, 1771-1788, in Plamen Mitev, Ivan Parvev, Maria Baramova, Vania Racheva (eds.), Empires and Peninsulas: Southeastern Europe Between Carlowitz and the Peace of Adrianople, 16991829, Berlin 2010, 51-62.

Boro Bronza Department of History Faculty of Philosophy University of Banja Luka

The Habsburg Monarchy and the Projects for Division of the Ottoman Balkans 1771–1788

After the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763) and financial exhaustion, the Habsburg Monarchy was not in a position to lead offensive policy in Southeastern Europe. Maria Theresa had publicly proclaimed a friendly policy towards the Ottoman Empire. The inner question of dynastic rule and inheritance became very complex after 1765, when Joseph II was declared coruler by his mother. The division of their authority was never clearly resolved. Until her death Maria Theresa was the real ruler; despite their frequent clashes, her son had to accept her will and decisions. 1 As the years passed, however, Joseph II increasingly took the initiative, especially in the context of foreign policy. The beginnings of a new offensive policy of Austria in Southeastern Europe throughout the 1770s were related exclusively to his activities. The new Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774) was crucial for changing the perception of the European Southeast in Vienna. After seven years of war and the exhaustion of Austria and Prussia, the new Russian Empress Catherine II (1762–1796) was allowed to exploit quickly and efficiently the possibility for action, starting a major offensive in the Southeast in order to finally achieve the goals of Russian policy set at the end of the 17th century by Peter the Great. The new war displayed the great superiority of Russia over Turkey. The Russian army claimed a series of victories. Azov was taken, followed by the entire coast of the Sea of Azov and, more


Derek Beales. Joseph II. In the Shadow of Maria Theresa 1741–1780. Cambridge 1987, p. 11.


importantly, the Black Sea coast west to Kherson. 2 The Peace in Kuchuk Kainarji (1774) gave Russia substantial benefits and definitively confirmed it was the leading contestant in the claims for the Ottoman territories in Europe. Joseph II watched with great dissatisfaction the spread of Russian power. He even considered entering the war against Russia to prevent its excessive expansion to the Balkans and Istanbul. Already in 1768 he discussed the possibility of the capture of Belgrade and the strategic advantages that such an endeavour could bring. Maria Theresa firmly rejected his proposal and Austria was intensely engaged in peace mediation between Turkey and Russia. The aim was twofold: to stop the Russian troops before they penetrated far south, threatening parts of Turkey that Austria considered under its sphere of influence, and open possibilities for compensation from the Ottomans for preventing their total military and political debacle through successful negotiation. The hypothetical compensation was related to a small territory, and this desire was communicated to the Divan through the Austrian internuncio. A positive response came very soon, because the situation on the Turkish front was verging on disaster. Austria had a chance to gain an appropriate area for the successful mediation and the first choice was Small Wallachia, the westernmost part of Wallachia, which was already in Austrian hands between 1718 and 1739. For Joseph II this was an acceptable solution, but later he decided on another option. For its help in the final peace negotiations with Russia in 1774, Austria was awarded Bukovina, a small territory (approximately 10,400 square kilometres) in northern Moldova. 3 The choice of Bukovina was the product of different understanding of priorities by the Austrian crown prince. This territory was expected to provide better connection between the Habsburg hinterland and the new Austrian territories in Galicia, and a base from which Austria could more easily and


V. N. Vinogradov. Ekaterina II i proryiv Rossii na Balkanyi. In: V. N. Vinogradov (ed.). Istoria Balkan. Vek vosemnadtsatyi. Moscow 2004, p. 112-35. 3 After the agreement with the Turks Austrian troops occupied Bukovina in the spring of 1775. The internuncio Thugut had a key role in the implementation process and the area was officially named “The border area of Moldavia and Transylvania” („les Terres de Moldavie entre la Transylvanie“). Österreichisches Staatsarchiv, Abteilung Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv (further: HHStA), Staatenabteilungen, Türkei III, Kart. 7: Grenzverhältnisse 1699–1795, Fasz.: Granzverträge 1699–1795 Varia, Fol. 43-47. Demarcation under the supervision of the internuncio was conducted in August 1775. HHStA, Staatskanzlei, Intercepte, Kart. 2: 1775– 1809, Fasz. Thugut 1775, 1791, 1801, Fol. 6-8.


effectively thwart future Russian penetration to the south of Moldova. These plans were clearly showing Joseph’s great ambition for territorial claims in Southeastern Europe. 4

The case of Bukovina was associated with Austria’s participation in the first Partition of Poland on 5 August 1772. Poland was constantly being weakened by Austria, Russia and Prussia, as each gained a significant part of Polish territory through mutual agreement. Austria received Galicia and some adjacent territories totalling 83,000 square kilometres, with over two million inhabitants. This expansion eastward moved Austria further away from the Western sphere towards Eastern political projections. 5 The first Partition of Poland gave rise to projects anticipating the future division of the Ottoman Empire, already significantly drained by the Russians. The possibility of a small territorial gain through mediation could be eventually replaced by entering into a new war against Turkey on the side of Russia on the promise of large territorial expansion. Such plans were already brewing in Vienna in 1772. At the end of 1771 the Austrian diplomat Baron von Bender presented to the court a “Project of the division of Turkey.” 6 On 17 January 1772 the project was officially sent to Maria Theresa. 7 The Austrian internuncio in Istanbul, Thugut, came in contact with the Russians about their views on division, on 7 January 1772. 8 On 19 January Joseph II sent the same proposal to the Prussian king Frederick II to examine his views. After 1740 Prussia became a constant factor for Austria to reckon in any plan for Southeastern European, because there was always the possibility of alliance between Prussia and Turkey. Any possible territorial expansion at the expense of Turkey implied some Austrian territorial compensation for Prussia, be it from Poland, the small German states or even Austria itself. A huge obstacle for Joseph’s plan was the completion of negotiations to create a defensive alliance between Prussia and Russia, whose relations were much closer than the Austro-Russian relations. When Frederick II announced his vague response, 9 the young


Hans Magenschab. Josef II. Österreichs Weg in die Moderne. Wien 2006, p. 105. Horst Möller. Fürstenstaat oder Bürgernation. Deutschland 1763–1815. Berlin 1998, p. 297. 6 Project einer Theilung der Türkei von Baron Bender; HHStA, Staatenabteilungen, Türkei III, Kart. 15: Grenzverhältnisse 1718–1795, Fasz. Teilungsprojekt 1771/72, Fol. 1. 7 Ibid., Fol. 41. 8 Ibid., Fol. 67-70. 9 Ibid., Fol. 85-90. 5


Austrian ruler was forced, on 19 January, to address Maria Teresa for advice and opinion. 10 At first the empress showed restraint. Chancellor Kaunitz announced his vision on 13 February, clearly sceptical about the possibility to go to war and engage in aggressive action to splinter Ottoman territory. 11 Joseph II saw that, apart from a few diplomats, there was no support for his aggressive plans. The geopolitical situation was not favourable for a new war adventure against the Turks, because the prospect of hostile engagement by Prussia was very much alive. Therefore, precedence was given to modest requirements for territorial expansion through mediation that resulted in the gain of Bukovina. 12 During the entire consideration of the project, Joseph II never clearly stated which Ottoman territory he really wanted to incorporate. Just before the end he pointed out that his priority were Wallachia and Moldavia. This supported the efforts to control the possible Russian advance south and create a trade monopoly along the Danube. Prussia and Russia were allies since 1772, especially after the War for the Bavarian Succession (1778–1779). Joseph II was aware that to move the centre of political gravity in Germany or expand in Southeastern European, Austria needed to align much closer with Russia than Prussia already had. The Austrian alliance with France since the 1750s was of no particular use. In order to bring Vienna together with Russia, in the spring of 1780 Joseph II initiated a new negotiation process through the Austrian Ambassador in St. Petersburg, Ludwig Cobenzl. He contacted the Russian representative in Vienna, Prince Galicin. Empress Catherine II was pleased to accept the proposal for a meeting. Joseph II lost no time and on 26 April 1780 left for Russia. During the meetings and talks in Mogilev from 4 to 9 June, joint plans were not defined, but Joseph II managed to gain the confidence of the Russian empress, laying a solid basis for further development of the Austro-Russian relations. The first results were already evident in late 1780, when Catherine II refused to extend the union with Prussia. 13 Maria Theresa was adamant against the policy of union with Russia, knowing that such alliance would eventually lead to a joint offensive against Turkey. Her views that the division of Turkey was utterly unnecessary had shaped the Habsburgs’ foreign policy over the past few


Ibid., Fol. 103-7. Ibid., Fol. 130. 12 Project de paix generale, ibid., Fol. 131-5. 13 Oskar Criste. Kriege unter Kaiser Josef II. Wien 1904, p. 136. 11


decades: “Austria would gain nothing, even if its powers were expanded to the walls of Constantinople, but unhealthy, abandoned territories inhabited by unreliable Greeks; all things considered, this would not increase the might of the Monarchy, but exhaust it.” 14 The conflict with Joseph II about the alliance with Russia was the last of many clashes between mother and son. After 40 years in power, Maria Theresa died on 29 November 1780. Joseph II sent a letter advising Sultan Abdul Hamid of the change of throne, according to the principles of primogeniture and heritage. 15 The letter was a symbolic message that a new era was coming in the Austrian policy towards the Ottoman Empire.

After fully assuming the throne of Austria, Joseph II zealously continued the policy of approaching Russia. In December 1780 he wrote to ambassador Cobenzl: “The current situation is such that together Austria and Russia can do everything, but one without the other – nothing.” 16 At the end of 1780 and throughout 1781 Joseph II and Catherine II maintained intense correspondence. In May 1781, the alliance between Austria and Russia was finally concluded. 17 One of the key architects of Austria’s new Ostpolitik was Cobenzl. He thought that Austria, in aggressive campaigns against Turkey in alliance with Russia, should conquer Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Wallachia, and the entire course of the Danube up to the Black Sea. 18 After the emperor’s visit to the Russian court in 1780, Cobenzl assumed the role of chief negotiator with Russia; his counterpart was Prince Potemkin, who had successfully supplanted Panin as the most influential minister in Catherine’s palace. 19 14

“Die Theilung des Osmanenreiches wäre von allen Unternehmungen die kühnste und gefährlichste. Was würden wir gewinnen, wenn wir unsere Eroberungen selbst bis vor die Mauern Constantinopels ausdehnen würden? Ungesunde, culturlose, entvölkerte oder von unzuverlässigen Griechen bewohnte Provinzen, welche die Kräfte der Monarchie nicht steigern, sondern erschöpfen würden.” Maria Theresa wrote this in a letter to her ambassador in Paris, Count Mercy d`Argenteau, on 31 July 1777. Adolf Beer. Orientalische Politik Österreichs seit 1774. PragueLeipzig 1883, p. 39. 15 “…haereditario et primogenitali jure...”; HHStA, Staatenabteilungen, Türkei II, Kart. 74: Weisungen, Berichte 1780, 1781 I-III, Fasz. Weisungen 1780 (1-188), Fol. 175-6. 16 “Der Satz bleibt richtig, daß Rußland mit uns und wir mit Rußland alles, eines ohne dem anderen aber sehr beschwerlich etwas Wesentliches und Nutzbares ausrichten können... ” Criste. Kriege unter Kaiser Josef II, p. 137. 17 Ivan Pîrvev. Land in Sicht. Südosteuropa in den deutschen politischen Zeitschriften des 18. Jahrhunderts. Mainz 2008, p. 161. 18 HHStA, Staatenabteilungen, Türkei III, Kart. 15: Grenzverhältnisse 1718–1795, Fasz. Projekte einer Teilung des Osman. Reichs, Fol. 338-48. 19 “Nur thätige Theilnahme an dem Kriege kann uns gegen alle erwähnten und mehrere andere sich von selbst darstellende Bedenklichkeit sichern... ” Ludwig Wiener. Kaiser Josef II. als Staatsmann und Feldherr. Österreichs Politike und Kriege in den Jahren 1763–1790, Mittheilungen des K.K. Kriegs-Archivs Jahrgang 1885 (1885), 97.


The correspondence between Joseph II and Catherine II continued during 1782, plotting new plans for the division of Turkey. The Russian Empress took the initiative, openly venturing offensive proposals. In many letters of that year Catherine II discussed in detail the proposed partitioning. On 10 September 1782 she sent a final memorandum to Joseph II containing the famous “Greek Project.” The “Greek Project” envisioned the creation of a new independent state of Dacia incorporating Moldavia, Wallachia and Bessarabia. 20 Allegedly independent, Dacia would act as a buffer state between Russia and Austria. The Austrians quickly learned, however, of Russia’s plans to make Potemkin the ruler of Dacia. Next to independent Dacia, a Greek Empire based in Constantinople should be established, again as an independent state. 21 Catherine II stated that her grandson Constantine was destined to be the ruler of this state. 22 Her ideas breathed the principles of the future Christian supremacy in the Balkans, since in 1774 Russia was awarded the right to protect all Orthodox Christians in Turkey. Joseph’s court received the “Greek Project” with great interest, but not enthusiastically. 23 The project undermined Austria’s own plans for the Western Balkans. After thoroughly analysing the geopolitical situation in Europe and the world, and the military capabilities for a major war in the Balkans, Joseph II, Kaunitz and Cobenzl came to the conclusion that Catherine’s project was unfeasible. In their private correspondence, they dismissed it merely as a folly, or a futile flight of imagination (“chimérique”). 24 Joseph II did not publicly reject the plan, but in his response to Catherine the Great on 13 November 1782 he made it clear that if such divisions should materialise, he expected Austria to gain certain territory from Turkey. According to Joseph II, Austria should have the right to take part of Small Wallachia (up to the river Olt), including a belt of land along the right bank of the Danube from Belgrade to Nikopol, with both cities, as well as Vidin and Orşova, serving as a defence base for Hungary. The shortest straight line had to be drawn from Belgrade to the


HHStA, Staatenabteilungen, Türkei III, Kart. 15: Grenzverhältnisse 1718–1795, Fasz. Projekte einer Teilung des Osman. Reichs, Fol. 229-38. 21 Ibid. 22 Vasilj Popović. Istočno pitanje. Istorijski pregled borbe oko opstanka Osmanlijske carevine u Levantu i na Balkanu. Belgrade: 1996, p. 118. 23 HHStA, Staatenabteilungen, Türkei III, Kart. 15: Grenzverhältnisse 1718–1795, Fasz. Projekte einer Teilung des Osman. Reichs, Fol. 239-74. 24 Harald Heppner. Österreich und die Donaufürstentümer 1774–1812. Ein Beitrag zur habsburgischen Südosteuropapolitik. Graz 1984, p. 59.


Adriatic, in the Bay of Drin. Austria voiced its aspirations to parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina that constituted the largest part of the total territory the monarchy was striving to get. In Vienna this denouement was considered the ideal solution for Austria. If the proposed division failed, Joseph II was ready to accept the return of the borders of 1718; this option existed in Austrian politics throughout the decades preceding the final outbreak of the war with Turkey in 1788. The alliance of Austria and Russia was rather complicated. For Austria it was primarily a tool for better control of the political situation in Germany, specifically for implementation of the “Bavarian Plan” that failed in 1779. For Russia, it offered an excellent framework for continued expansion southward after the initial impetus from the war in 1768–1774. Over time, the contradicting interpretations of the union presented a growing problem for the AustroRussian relations. Once the “Greek Project” was ventured, Joseph II began recalling in his writings to the Russian Empress the old “historic” rights of the Habsburg dynasty as the exclusive successor of the medieval Hungarian kings. In his plan, Austria should get all the territory west of the line Belgrade–Drin, including the Venetian territories on the east coast of the Adriatic (Istria, Dalmatia and the Bay of Kotor). Venice could receive in compensation the Peloponnese, Crete, Cyprus and other islands in the Mediterranean. Joseph II justified his claim on the grounds that the Venetians had acquired their possessions in the East Adriatic in the distant past, in reality stealing these lands from the Habsburg Monarchy. 25 Catherine II accepted Joseph’s counter plan with great reserve. She was reluctant to break the territorial integrity of the Venetian Republic or the unity of the future Greek Empire where the Peloponnese, Crete and Cyprus were a natural part of the whole. Catherine’s proposal substantially deteriorated the Austro-Russian relations and the willingness of the Viennese court to act offensively against Turkey waned from year to year, as the project progressively highlighted the conflicting intentions of the two empires. 26 25

HHStA, Staatenabteilungen, Türkei III, Kart. 15: Grenzverhältnisse 1718-1795, Fasz. Projekte einer Teilung des Osman. Reichs, Fol. 287-329. 26 Austria’s perception of Catherine's “Greek Project,” the realism of the proposed ideas and the realism of Joseph II in his answer to Catherine’s proposal are still a complex issue in historiography. In the past the “Greek Project” was generally viewed as a much more realistic option than it objectively was (for example, in the work of Popović, Istoćno pitanje). Recent Austrian historians tend to view the “Greek Project” as an extremely unrealistic idea, seen through by Joseph II and chancellor Kaunitz (for example, in Heppner. Österreich und die Donaufürstentümer, pp. 53-61). The idea that the “Greek Project” should be viewed as a more realistic option has also reappeared, especially in the context of the planned development of Russian relations with the Orthodox Christians in the Balkans. Such attitudes, among others, are displayed by the Bulgarian historian Tamara Stoilova (Tamara Stoilova. Tretiat Rim. Mirnite reshenia na ruskata imperska politika v Yugoiztochna Evropa prez XVIII vek. Sofia 2001, pp. 87-105). Her statement seems confirmed by the serious memoirs of Baron von Spielmann (Memoire sur le partage


During the war in North America, France still was a key opponent to Britain and the British diplomatic circles sought alliances that could undermine France on the continent. 27 Seeing the rapprochement between Austria and Russia in 1780, 28 Britain was ready to give up all ties with the outcast Prussia to arrange continental relations in a way that would best serve her interests. The British foreign minister, Viscount Stormont, proposed a defensive alliance of Britain, Austria and Russia. 29 In a letter sent on 12 December 1780 to the British ambassador in Vienna, Robert Keith Murray, Stormont emphasised the importance of a possible alliance with Austria, arguing that: „Such an alliance would be the cornerstone of that system, which every friend to this country, and the general interests of Europe, must wish to see restored…” 30 True to the customs of the time, each court believed that its global policies alone best reflected the European interests. Joseph II, however, did not want to enter into an alliance against France or change the course of his foreign policy, and the union failed in 1781 as well as later. During the following years, Austria often lacked Britain’s support.

The period from the creation of the Austro-Russian alliance in 1781 until the outbreak of the war with Turkey in 1787–1788 was filled with bustling diplomatic activity in Europe. Already in 1783 Russia had successfully started to achieve its goals around Crimea. In the summer of 1783 Prince Potemkin launched the Russian offensive and officially proclaimed not only the inclusion of Crimea, but also of Kuban and Taman Island. 31 The French King Louis XVI had to persuade the Sultan Abdul Hamid to formally recognise the agreement whereby the Crimean Tatar Khan Girai had already relinquished the power over his territories to the Russian Empress.

de la Turquie 1782) and Joseph’s remarks on his memoirs (Bemerkungen über Theilung); HHStA, Staatenabteilungen, Türkei III, Kart. 15: Grenzverhältnisse 1718–1795, Fasz. Projekte einer Teilung des Osman. Reichs, Fol. 213-38. Soon Joseph II and his diplomacy began to understand the impossibility to realise this project. Ibid., Fol. 239-74. 27 Eberhard Weiss. Der Durchbruch des Bürgertums 1776–1847, Weltbild Geschichte Europas, Band 4 (2002), 70. 28 HHStA, Staatenabteilungen, Türkei II, Kart. 74: Weisungen, Berichte 1780, 1781 I-III, Fasz. Weisungen 1780 (1188), Fol. 2-11. 29 HHStA, Staatenabteilungen, England, Kart. 4: Hofkorr. 1740–1789, Fasz. Georg III. an Joseph II 1765–1789, Fol. 387. 30 Jeremy Black. British Policy Towards Austria, 1780-1793, Mitteilungen des Österreichischen Staatsarchivs, 42 (1994), 188-228, here: 195. 31 HHStA, Staatenabteilungen, Türkei II, Kart. 74: Weisungen, Berichte 1780, 1781 I-III, Fasz. Turcica 1781 (Berichte) Jänner-März (1-364), Fol. 25.


Joseph II had to wait for Russia to achieve its first goal before he could proceed with his plans. His diplomatic offensive from 1784 pursued two ends: the campaign against Turkey and the incarnation of the old ideas about substituting the uncertain Austrian Netherlands for Bavaria. 32 He insisted on repairing the border line in the far northwestern part of the Bosnian province on the left bank of the Una River (including Cazin, Cetin, Dreznik and other fortresses along the border). Among other reasons, this revision of borders was requested due to frequent clashes between the Turkish and Austrian border guards. Skirmishes broke out in 1782 and Austria was eager to take Dubica, Bužim, Ostrožac and Cetin. Turkey opposed the change of borders and Russia offered lukewarm support to Austria’s intentions. With the mediation of France the former delineation was preserved. 33 Austria’s diplomatic debacle in 1784–1785 was offset by a significant economic success. When the attempts to persuade Turkey about the border completely failed, Austria at least managed to get a very favourable trade agreement (“Sened”) on 24 February 1784. It enabled the Habsburgs to achieve significant liberalisation of trade, 34 mail 35 and other forms of communication with the Ottoman Empire. 36

The great importance of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Austrian plans stemmed from their geographical location and proximity to Austria. In the decade of Joseph’s independent rule his Balkan policy grew more precise and concrete. 37 The monarch understood that he faced little competition over Bosnia and Herzegovina; that much was clear already during his conversations with Catherine II in 1782.


Heppner. Österreich und die Donaufürstentümer, p. 61. “..du coté del’Unna... ”; HHStA, Staatenabteilungen, Türkei V, Kart. 12: Cobenzl – Herbert 1785–1793, Fasz. Cobenzl – Herbert Juli 1785 – Dezember 1789 (660-1010), Fol. 719. 34 “Was den Unnafluss anbelangt, so muss auf denselben bestanden werden, weil durch dessen GrenzenBehauptung wir, ohne das triplex confinium mit Venedig zu beirren, den Vortheil erhalten, den Handel von Bosnien durch das Carlstädter Generalat und an unsere Seehäfen von Zengg und Karlobago zu leiten, anstatt dass er jetzo nach Zara geht.” Beer. Orientalische Politik, p. 77. 35 Andreas Patera. Die Rolle der Habsburgermonarchie für den Postverkehr zwischen dem Balkan und dem übrigen Europa. In: Harald Heppner, ed., Der Weg führt über Österreich... Zur Geschichte des Verkehrs- und Nachrichtenwesens von und nach Südosteuropa (18. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart). Wien-Köln-Weimar 1996, pp. 37-89, here: 43. 36 HHStA, Staatskanzlei, Konsulate, Kart 35: Sira, Smyrna, Stancio, Stettin, Syrien, Tanger, Toulon, Trapezt.., Fasz. Travnik 1807–1808, Subfasz. 1807 Weisungen, Berichte, 1-17, Fol. 11-5. 37 Paul Mitrofanov. Joseph II. Seine politische und kulturelle Tätigkeit. Wien 1910; Criste. Kriege unter Kaiser Josef II; Fritz Valjavec. Die josephinischen Wurzeln des österreichischen Konservativismus, Südostforschungen, XIV/1 (1955), 166-75. 33


Relations with the Bosnian Franciscans were established at the very beginning of Joseph’s reign as the most important part of Austria’s policy towards the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 38 Access to the Bosnian Franciscans was not a novelty in the long history of the Habsburg Balkan policy. Similar efforts were invested in the mid-17th century, and the secret connections between Vienna and the Bosnian Franciscans were present during the Long War (1593–1606). These ties, however, weakened during the 17th and the better part of the 18th centuries, and Austria had done little to bind more firmly the Franciscans to its interests. 39 With the growing influence of Joseph II at the end of the reign of Maria Theresa and his plans to launch a new wave of offensives against the Ottoman possessions, the scene was set for revitalising the bond between the Habsburgs and the Bosnian Franciscans. The trip of two Franciscans to Vienna in 1779 was very important for the spirit of cooperation. 40 Shortly after Maria Theresa’s death in 1780, Joseph II began to make plans for territorial expansion of the Habsburg Monarchy in the Balkans. At the beginning of 1780 the German emperor issued orders for providing intensive help to the Bosnian Franciscans. On 21 January 1780 chancellor Kaunitz dispatched an instruction to the new Austrian internuncio in Istanbul, Baron HerbertRathkeal, quoting a letter sent to Vienna from Fojnica in Bosnia on 24 October 1779; it was an appeal from the Bosnian Catholics who prayed Austria for help. Herbert-Rathkeal was enjoined to make every effort (“alle Mühe zu geben”) to invalidate the decisions of the Sultan “in favour” of Orthodox Christians in the Bosnian paşalık. 41 That requirement was once again highlighted to the Austrian internuncio on 22 February. 42 That marked the renewal of intensive cooperation between Austria and the Bosnian Franciscans. A happy circumstance for Austria’s diplomatic approach to the Ottomans was that Baron Philipp von Herbert-Rathkeal (1735–1802) had taken office as the Austrian internuncio just a few months earlier, in late 1779. 43 Over the next 23 years he showed diplomatic skills that made

Srećko M. Džaja. Katolici u Bosni i Zapadnoj Hercegovini na prijelazu iz 18. u 19. stoljeće. Doba fra Grge Ilijića Varešanina (1783–1813). Zagreb 1971, p. 86. 39 Filip Lastrić. Pregled starina bosanske provincije, edited by Andrija Zirdum. Sarajevo 1977, pp. 70-90; Bono Benić. Ljetopis sutješkog samostana, edited by Ignacije Gavran,, Sarajevo 1979, pp. 53-94. 40 Bono Benić, Ljetopis sutješkog samostana, p. 280. 41 Foiniza aus Bosnien; HHStA, Staatenabteilungen, Türkei II, Kart. 74: Weisungen, Berichte 1780, 1781 I-III, Fasz.: Weisungen 1780 (1-188), Fol.: 12-5. 42 Ibid., Fol. 28. 43 Instruction für Freiherrn von Herbert 10. July 1779; HHStA, Staatenabteilungen, Türkei V, Kart. 17: Instructionen 1754–1802, Fasz. Herbert, Fol. 1-131. 38


him the best Austrian internuncio in Istanbul in the 18th century. 44 Following the instructions from Vienna, Herbert-Rathkeal started the painful process of alternating pressure and corruption with the Porte to achieve his task. In 1783 the Bosnian Franciscans were glad to see the first results of this new cooperation: the efforts of the Austrian internuncio in Istanbul produced a much desired fırman in response to their pleas. A turning point for Austria’s influence among the Bosnian Franciscans arrived in 1784. In the beginning of the year the former apostolic vicar Marko Dobretić died and, at the initiative of Vienna, Augustin Botoš-Okić was elected as his successor on 17 March 1784. The early 1780s marked a milestone and a change of guard at the Franciscan Province of Bosnia Argentina. Two long-standing leaders of the province, Filip Lastrić and Bonaventura Benić, passed away and the scene was free for a new generation, notably Augustin Botoš-Okić (c. 1725–1799), Grgo Ilijić-Varešanin (1736–1813) and Augustin Miletić (1763–1831), who were ready to bind the Bosnian Franciscans much closer to Vienna in the coming decades. Their choices triggered a series of conflicts within the province. 45 On the way from Rome to Bosnia in 1784, Botoš-Okić spent two months in Vienna, where he was granted several audiences by Joseph II. The emperor gave many gifts to the new vicar; most importantly, he created a foundation with an endowment of 107,700 forints. Every year 23 Bosnian Franciscans were offered education in Zagreb and Budapest to advance the foundation’s interests, with individual grants up to 180 forints. 46 Of course, the Austrian government sought adequate return for its assistance, mainly through spying assignments. An agreement was quickly reached, and the internuncio in Istanbul received new instructions to continue with the propaganda in favour of the Franciscan Order. 47 Since 1787 the Bosnian Franciscans enjoyed continuous transfers towards the theological institutions in the Habsburg Monarchy, primarily in Croatia. 48 44

HHStA, Staatskanzlei, Interiora, Personalia, Kart. 12: Z, Pers. Listen, Fasz. alt Fasz 24, Fol.15. Džaja. Katolici u Bosni i Zapadnoj Hercegovini, pp. 190-216. 46 “...Sacratissima Sua Majestas erga demissam Pttae D Vrae Repraesentationem ex illis pecuniis, quae pro perrenni Conservatione Sacrorum Locorum in Palestina deserviunt, pro educando juniore Clero Bosniensi 107.700 fos... ” Julijan Jelenić, ed., Izvori za kulturnu povijest bosanskih franjevaca. Sarajevo 1913, pp. 57-8. 47 Letter from Philip Cobenzl to Herbert-Rathkeal dated 2 November 1785: “Vos remontrances en faveur des Franciscains seront mises sous les geux de l’Empereur, mais je doute qu’elles fassent effet, le referain de S. M. étant toujours qu’il ne peut avoir rien à faire avec les missions et la Propaganda et que ces moines ne le regardent en rien. ” HHStA, Staatenabteilungen, Türkei V, Kart. 12: Cobenzl – Herbert 1785–1793, Fasz. Cobenzl – Herbert Juli 1785 – Dezember 1789 (660-1010), Fol. 701. 48 “Cum Sacratissima Regia Caesarea Sua Majestis, ea Clementia qua praedita est nostro Bosniensi clero facultatem concesserit, ut possint juvenes se conferre ad conventum Zagrabiensem Fratrum Franciscanorum, 45


In 1787 Russia and Turkey were on the verge of open conflict. France and Britain were very busy in Istanbul, ready to back the weak Ottoman position to safeguard their commercial interests and prevent Russian penetration in Mediterranean Turkey. 49 While Russia and Austria were contemplating when and how to start the war against Turkey, the war broke out in Istanbul, led by the grand vizier Koca Yusuf Pasha (1786–1789). The vizier was able to convince the Sultan Abdul Hamid to launch a war against Russia, although the Turkish army was ill-prepared to engage and secure a quick victory. 50 The Ottoman government called the Russian ambassador, Bulgakov, and asked him to guarantee the peaceful conduct of Russia concerning any matters on the Russo-Turkish border. Bulgakov could not give every warranty required by the Turks and was imprisoned in the closed fortress “Seven Towers,” while Turkey declared war against Russia on 24 August 1787. 51 The nature of Austrian participation in the war was decided in the fall of 1787 by Joseph’s determination. With time he was increasingly inclined to embrace his historic mission to liberate Christians from the Turkish barbarism and restore the Southeastern lands to the Habsburgs, their only rightful owners. 52 Austria officially entered the war against Turkey on 9 February 1788. On that day, the Austrian internuncio Herbert-Rathkeal officially handed the ibique se sistere illis ad quos spectat, ut illos de humanioribus studiis provideant: idcirco Te Rendum Prem Franciscum Milloscevich Nostrum Secretarium mittimus...,” Jelenić, ed., Izvori za kulturnu povijest, pp. 58-9. 49 In the spring of 1787 the Austrian agent in Istanbul, Testa, often wrote to chancellor Kaunitz about his beliefs that the British ambassador in Istanbul, Sir Robert Ainslie, encouraged Turkey to wage war against Russia. Jeremy Black, British Policy, 207. The internuncio Herbert-Rathkeal had been expressing such doubts for more than a year. HHStA, Staatenabteilungen, Türkei II, Kart. 74: Weisungen, Berichte 1780, 1781 I-III, Fasz. Turcica 1781 (Berichte) Jänner-März (1-364), Fol. 221-3. See extensive analysis of the activities of Robert Ainslie and the British policy in the East in: A. I. Bağis. Britain and the Struggle for the Integrity of the Ottoman Empire. Sir Robert Ainslie’s Embassy to Istanbul 1776–1794. Istanbul 1984. The public in Britain was surprised by the declaration of war. HHStA, Staatenabteilungen, England, Kart. 126: Korr. Ber. 1787–1788 (Revitzky), Fasz. Ber. 1787, VII-XII, Fol. 8-10. This does not mean that some government circles were not involved in preparations of war. 50 Vinogradov. Ekaterina II i proryiv Rossii na Balkanyi, p. 144. 51 At the end of 1787 and the beginning of 1788 Austria was engaged in intense diplomatic brokerage to release Bulgakov. After the withdrawal of Herbert-Rathkeal from Istanbul immediately after the declaration of war, Austria was informed abour Bulkagov's fate by the ambassador of Naples in Istanbul, Ludolph. On 16 February 1788 the news spread: “Bulgakow erasi accordata la liberta colla sola restrizione del termine di 25. giorni, quale decorso potrebbe a pieno suo grado partire per Mare, o per Terra; e cio pel guisto riflesso, che se unutamente al Ministro Imperiale si liberava; mal appreso sarabbesi dalle Milizie, e dal Popolo nelle attuali circostanze della Guerra coll Imperatore, e colla Russia.” HHStA, Staatenabteilungen, Türkei II, Kart. 96: Berichte, Weisungen 1788, Fasz.: Schreiben aus Konstantinopel, Fol. 1-10. Bulgakov was finally released in 1789. 52 On 6 July 1788, Joseph II wrote from Zemun a letter to the French foreign minister, Montmorin. He pointed out his decision to solve the problem of the “barbarians from the Orient” once and for all: “Diese Barbaren des Orients haben mehr denn 200 Jahre alle möglichen Treulosigkeiten gegen meine Vorfahren begangen, Tractate verletzt... Die Zeit ist gekommen, wo ich als Rächer der Menschheit auftrete, wo ich es über mich nehme, Europa für die Drangsale zu entschädigen, die es einstens von ihnen dulden musste... ” Wiener. Kaiser Josef II, p. 109.


grand vizier a note with the declaration of war, justified primarily with Austria’s alliance with Russia that Turkey had just attacked. The casus foederis was placed in the foreground to give the Austrian position a formally defensive character for as long as possible. 53 After tendering the declaration of war, the Austrian internuncio retired and the Turkish government allowed him to freely leave the country, returning to Austria via Tuscany. 54 On the following day the Austrian troops crossed into the Bosnian province and began one of most disastrous conflicts in the entire history of the Austro-Turkish wars. It marked the beginning of a new phase in the Austrian policy towards the Bosnian territory and the provinces of the Ottoman Balkans that was completed, due to later developments in France and a series of European wars, only at the Congress of Vienna in 1814–1815, when Austria finally achieved its ambitions in the Balkans through the annexation of the entire territories of the former maritime republics of Venice and Dubrovnik. On the entire area of the Western Balkans Austro-Turkish War of 17881791 has led to the emergence of ideological dimensions, religious and national mobilization that in the previous time in this form were completely unknown in the Balkan routes, which amended the permanent character of the entire space. In this sense, the war of 1788-1791 became a real crossroad of the eras.


“Die Pforte hat es also einzig und allein sich selbst beyzumessen, dass Se. Kays. Majestät nach einer gegen sie beobachteten so vieljährigen friedfertigen guten Nachbarschaft und nach allen bez jeder Gelegenheit angewandten Vermittlungsbemühungen nun mehr sich veranlasset, und durch sie genöthigt sehen, die Allerhöchstdenselben als getreue Freunden und Allirten Ihrer Russisch Kais. Majestät obligenden Pflichten in die vollständigste Erfüllung zu bringen und an dem Kriege unverzüglichen wirklichen Teil zu nehmen.” Drag(oljub) M. Pavlovic. Srbija za vreme poslednjeg austrijsko-turskog rata (1788–1791 г.). Belgrade: Srpska književna zadruga 1910, pp. 7-8. 54 The ambassador of Naples in Istanbul, Ludolph, assumed the role of key informant about the events in Vienna and Istanbul after the declaration of war and the suspension of diplomatic relations between Austria and Turkey. On 16 February it was reported in Vienna that the internuncio Herbert-Rathkeal together with all his staff and their families safely boarded a ship for the Tuscan port of Livorno. In Istanbul Herbert-Rathkeal also served as Ambassador of Tuscany, which was then managed as a Habsburg secundogeniture): “L’Internunzio altro non aspettava per imbarcarsi per Livorno con tutti gli Individui della sua missione, offiziali, e dragomani, colle Mogli, e Figli loro; che il Firmano della Porta, senz’il quale a verun Bastimento si permette il libero passo per il Canale dei Dardanelli...” HHStA, Staatenabteilungen, Türkei II, Kart. 96: Berichte, Weisungen 1788, Fasz.: Schreiben aus Konstantinopel, Fol. 1-10. The internuncio arrived in Livorno in mid-April. HHStA, Staatenabteilungen, Türkei V, Kart. 12: Cobenzl – Herbert 1785–1793, Fasz. Cobenzl – Herbert Juli 1785 – Dezember 1789 (660-1010), Fol. 989. 13

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