The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation existed for more than 1000 years, from 800/962 to 1806. Emperor Francis II was not only the last Emperor of this Empire but he was also the only Double-Emperor in world history. But it comes even better, as the document is issued to Friedrich Earl of Solms-Laubach and issued (signed) by Franz de Paula Gundaker von Colloredo-Mannsfeld.
… hat Allerhöchstdero wirklicher kaiserlicher Reichshofrath Friederich des Heiligen römischen Reichs Graf zu Solms-Laubach… derselbe mit einem Bedienten von hier in das teutsche Reich zu reisen… zu seiner und seines Bedientens sicherer, unaufhaltlicher, und freyer… Grafen von Solms-Laubach, und seinem Bedienten… ohne Abforderung einiger Mauth, Zolls oder anderer derley Abgaben, wie die Namen haben, frey… Wien… den 16ten November im Jahre 1797… F. zu Colloredo Mannsfeld (manu propria)… Peter Anton Frank m(anu) p(ro)p(ria).
(Many thanks to Robert, for reading the handwritten text. I am still weak in reading such old text – Palaeography is difficult to master but Robert is a master!)
Francis II, the last Holy Roman emperor (1792-1806) and, as Francis I, the first emperor of Austria (1804-35). Also reigned as King of Hungary (1792-1830) and King of Bohemia (1792-1836). Involved in the wars of the French Revolution and in the Napoleonic Wars. After the extension of French control over western Germany and the reorganization of the German states by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1803, Francis consolidated his power in Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, and northern Italy and proclaimed himself emperor of Austria in 1804. Two years later he formally dissolved the old Holy Roman Empire. As emperor of Austria, Francis gave Prince Klemens von Metternich almost complete control of foreign affairs after 1809 and devoted himself to the internal administration of the empire. The marriage of his daughter Marie Louise to Napoleon in 1810 earned three peaceful years in which Francis revived Austrian strength for the campaign that would bring about Napoleon’s downfall. By the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Francis recovered most of the territory Austria had lost.
Francis had married four times; firstly, in 1788, to Elisabeth of Württemberg; secondly, in 1790, to Maria Teresa of the Two Sicilies; thirdly, in 1808, to Maria Ludovica of Austria-Este; and fourthly, in 1816, to Caroline Charlotte Auguste of Bavaria. He died 1835 (age 67) in Vienna due to a sudden fever.
Friedrich Earl of Solms-Laubach
Friedrich Ludwig Christian Graf zu Solms-Laubach (* 29. August 1769 in Laubach; † 24. February 1822 in Cologne) was initially a member of the Imperial Court Council in Vienna. Later he became a Prussian civil servant. He was the first – and only – chief president of the province Jülich-Kleve-Berg, which was united shortly after his death with the southern bordering province Grand Duchy Niederrhein 1824 to the Rhine province.
Solms-Laubach received an education from a tutor and then studied law at the University of Giessen from 1786 to 1789. He received practical legal training at the Reichskammergericht. As a representative of the Wetterauer Grafenbank, Solms-Laubach took part in the Reichstag in Regensburg in 1789/90. In 1790 he took part in the election of Emperor Leopold in Frankfurt am Main.
Between 1791 and 1797 Solms-Laubach was Reichshofrat in Vienna. He then represented the Wetterauer Grafenbank and the Protestant part of the Westphalian Grafenkollegium at the Rastatt Congress until 1799. Read more…
Franz de Paula Gundaker von Colloredo-Mannsfeld
Franz de Paula Gundaker I., Prince of Colloredo-Waldsee-Mels-Man(n)sfeld (* 28 May 1731 in Vienna; † 27 October 1807 Vienna) was a Habsburg diplomat and the last vice-chancellor of the Holy Roman Empire. His father was Vice-Chancellor Rudolph Joseph von Colloredo-Waldsee, one of his brothers the Archbishop of Salzburg Hieronymus von Colloredo, the temporary employer of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Franz Gundaker’s education prepared him for a diplomatic career. In 1753 he was appointed Reichshofrat. Later he was on diplomatic missions for the emperor. In particular, he was entrusted with the imperial representation of interests at elections of ecclesiastical imperial princes. In 1760 he was special envoy to the French court to prepare the marriage of Archduke Joseph to the Infanta Isabella of Bourbon-Parma. In 1766 he was appointed to the Privy Council. In 1764 he delivered the message of the election of Joseph II to the Roman king to Maria Theresa from Frankfurt. Between 1767 and 1770 he was the ambassador in Spain and became afterwards first imperial commissioner with the Visitation of the imperial chamber court in Wetzlar. 1788, after the death of his father he took over the possessions of the family in Bohemia and Austria and became as his successor 1789 Imperial Vice-Chancellor, without being able to stop the dissolution of the empire. With the end of the empire in 1806 also the office of the vice-chancellor ended.
Peter Anton Frank
Frank Peter Anton Frh. von, lawyer. Aschaffenburg, 7. 4. 1746; † Vienna, 12. 11. 1818. Stud. 1764-66 at the University of Mainz under Behlen, Horix and Will Jus, in the following years at the University of Würzburg under Barthel and Sündermahler, last in Göttingen and Wetzlar. 1770 professor of rights in Mainz, 1771 elector prince. Trier’s court counsellor and professor of German state and fief law and history in Trier, 1775 senior librarian, 1780 professor of German imperial history and state law in Mainz, 1784 electoral prince. Mainz court and governing council. He became known as the Councillor of the Embassy of the Elector of Trier at the election of Leopold II with the Emperor and was appointed in 1791 to the German Dept. in Vienna as a student assistant to the Empire, where he held this office until the dissolution of the Empire. F., who possessed a comprehensive knowledge, withdrew then into the private life, in order to work on staatswiss. Works to work. 1803 Frh.
Hence, this passport is an essential document for (passport) history and a museums piece at its finest.