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Leopold Thun-Hohenstein

Thun-Hohenstein

Thun-Hohenstein is a family within the Bohemian and Austrian nobility. One branch of the family has dwelled at Děčín (Tetschen), Bohemia, for more than 200 years.

Friedrich Thun-Hohenstein

Of the three sons of Count Franz, the eldest, Friedrich (1810-1881), entered the diplomatic service; after holding other posts he was in 1850 appointed president of the restored German Diet at Frankfurt, where he represented the anti-Prussian policy of Felix Schwarzenberg, and often came into conflict with Bismarck, who was the Prussian envoy. He was afterwards ambassador at Berlin and St. Petersburg. After his retirement from the public service in 1863 he supported in the Bohemian Landtag and the Austrian Reichsrat the federal policy of his brother Leo. In 1879 he was made hereditary member of the Upper House. In this position he was on his death, on 24 September 1881, succeeded by his eldest son Franz Anton (born 1847).

Franz Anton Thun-Hohenstein

Like the rest of his family, Franz Anton belonged to the Federalist party, and his appointment in 1889 as governor of Bohemia was the cause of grave dissatisfaction to the German Austrians. He took a leading part in the negotiation of 1890 for the Bohemian settlement, but the elections of 1891, in which the Young Czechs who were opposed to the feudal party gained a decisive victory, made his position a very difficult one. Contrary to expectation, he showed great energy in suppressing disorder; but after the proclamation of a state of siege his position became untenable, and in 1895 he had to resign. On the resignation of Badeni in 1898 he was made minister president, an office which he held for little more than a year. For, though he succeeded in bringing to a conclusion the negotiations with Hungary, the support he gave to the Czechs and Slovenians increased the opposition of the Germans to such a degree that parliamentary government became impossible, and at the end of 1899 he was dismissed.

Leopold Thun-Hohenstein

The third son of Count Franz, Leopold or Leo (1811-1888), was a leading Austrian statesmen. When he was young he was involve in the Czech revival becoming friends Palacky and other Czech leaders and helped set up Czech language schools. He was also interested in prison reform.

After serving under Stadion in Galicia, he was appointed in 1848, after the outbreak of the revolution, Regierungspräsident (president of the administration) and acting Stadthalter (governor) in Bohemia. At the start of his tenure a rebellion broke out in Prague, when he was imprisoned. After being released he supported Windischgratz in restoring Hapsburg authority, losing popularity.

In 1849 he became minister of religion and education the autocratic and centralizing administration of Schwarzenberg and Baron Alexander von Bach. He was a reforming minister of education, although he insisted on the use of the German language in all schools of higher education. As minister of religion he worked for a concordat with the Catholic Church which re-established Catholic direction of schooling. His office was abolished in 1860.

For the rest of his life he was a leader of the Federalist party in Bohemia, supporting the claims of Bohemia to full autonomy, establishing a paper, the Vaterland, which became the organ of the Clerical and Federalist party.

In 1847 he married the Countess Clam-Martinic, but there was no issue of the marriage. He died in Vienna on 17 December 1888.

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