Figures of Speech HOME

Home

2018

2017

2016

The month 12

Scrapbook 12

Road to nowhere

Backup hell

Beyond analysis

Winter solstice

Judge Judy

Betjeman Christmas

Veiled Modesty

Energy made easy

Nobel Ceremony 2016

Schober? [9]

The month 11

Scrapbook 11

Word Of The Year

Man and machine

Cognitive dissonance

Schubert trajectory

No change

The month 10

Scrapbook 10

That man again

Freedom of speech

A victim remembers

The conquering hero

Schiaparelli

The Man in Black

Cox and Box

Bees pulling strings

Those formative years

John Dalton

The grape harvest

Babi Yar

Bible studies

Jacobin Conspiracy [6]

Circles of conspiracy

Franz Hebenstreit

Andreas von Riedel

Joseph Vinzenz Degen

The lockdown

Under the belljar

The month 09

Scrapbook 09

Wrong again

That Sappho thing

Rustling inspiration

Channelled speech

The houseman's friend

Wishful thinking

Churchill in Zurich

Franz's belljar

The other Spaun

Walking with Walser

Stephen McIntyre

The month 08

Scrapbook 08

Arthur Szyk

Climate alarmism

Citroen DS23

Artificial Intelligence

Portrait of the age

Shipwreck [7]

The month 07

Scrapbook 07

The Bastille Spirit

Classic books

Mechanics

Devaluing the family

Andrea Leadsom

Outrage

Habsburg cradle

UK politics

The month 06

Scrapbook 06

The Chosen Ones

Referendum mop up

Voters

Wonderment

Last words

Gretchen am Spinnrade

The alien hatches

Carbon dioxide

Ignorants

Electoral Commission

Sahra Wagenknecht

The green tick

The month 05

Scrapbook 05

The Sun Queen

Before Schubert [5]

European wars

Timelessness

Saving time

EU referendum

Protestant Ethic [9]

The month 04

Scrapbook 04

Cherry blossom

Dark chocolate

Out of the swamp

Richard North

Do not sleep

Imperial chemistry

Lili Marleen

The Habsburg lip

The month 03

Scrapbook 03

Bedsheet, spreadsheet

French dodo

Lenten thoughts

Heinrich Heine

The great survivor

The Swiss muddle

Hans Erni

Switzerland defused

Tristram's bad start

Montségur [5]

The month 02

Scrapbook 02

Frosty wreck

Language lab

Referendum reloaded

Graven images

Die Forelle [5]

The grass on the weirs

The month 01

Rabid lexicography

Not like us

Language lab

IKEA's loose screw

Nathan's rings

Brief Encounter II

Mohammed, not my prophet

Lunatic calendars

Hidden Hemingway

Sharing the risk

Bathtime for St. Kevin

The dismal science

The below above

Sanitised swearing

Souvenirs

Rockers do it better

2015


Updated content

Contents list

Site search

Blogroll

About


Schubert collection

Home | 2016 | Jacobins

The lockdown

Posted by Richard on UTC 2016-10-01 09:06.

On 2 January 1795, just a few days before Hebenstreit's meeting with the hangman, Franz and his government published a new law on treason that re-introduced into Austria the death penalty for civilians who 'led by wicked intentions or dazzled by dreams or as tools of enemy plans, get involved in secret attacks of this type'. [1]

Franz provided a long laundry-list of things for which a person could be hanged, specifically mentioning plotting to overthrow the state in secret societies and concluding with 'incitement, recruitment, reconnaissance, connection, support or any other action with this intention'. Following the dealings with the Austrian Jacobins, in effect, secret societies – in fact, any secret events – were now implicitly treasonable. The 'death penalty by hanging' could be imposed 'whether or not there were any real consequences of the treason'.

The new law also added two chilling corollary offences. One was failure to report, the other was 'insolent criticism' (frecher Tadel). Whereas Vinzenz Degen had carried out his spying task against the Jacobins with obvious élan, it was now an offence NOT to report treasonable cases to the police, an offence punishable by life imprisonment. Under this law, Blumaur wouldn't have escaped with a reprimand just because he himself did nothing directly.

Reporters of treason, even when they had effectively been participants, were explicitly given immunity, whereas the punishment for 'failure to betray' was grimly nuanced: anyone who might easily have stopped a treason but failed to do so would be sentenced to life imprisonment under 'the hardest dungeon conditions' (mit schwerstem Kerker); anyone failing to report would be regarded as an accomplice and would receive life imprisonment under 'hard dungeon conditions' (mit hartem Kerker); anyone who, thinking the treason harmless, failed to report would receive five to ten years of imprisonment, also under 'hard dungeon conditions'. One small mercy: a clause explicitly excluding conspiritors' relatives from punishment was included after much pressure from the enlightened Karl Count Zinzendorf. Parents, spouses and children would be spared.

The clause concerning 'insolent criticism' we would now take to mean sedition or incitement of discontent. It was framed broadly and is, if anything, the most generally repressive part of the new law. It is a point where policing and censorship unite:

Whoever through insolent criticism in public life, writings or pictorial representations gives cause that feelings against the form of government, the administration or the constitution could be inflamed is, because of such disturbance of public calm in the country, to be punished as a criminal with imprisonment under hard dungeon conditions for five to ten years. [2]

It was an impressive gesture of despotic theatre to publish this law reinstating the death penalty on 2 January and hang Hebenstreit six days later. Taken together, both events showed Franz's subjects throughout the Empire that he was not merely playing at repression. Public or private dalliance with new ideas would have unthinkable consequences.

References

  1. ^ Hofdekret 02.01.1795, p. 1f.
  2. ^ Ibid, §5, p. 4.