- Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria
- Manuscript document signed by the Emperor Franz Joseph ("Franzjoseph"), and his chief minister Prince Schwarzenberg ("F. Schwarzenberg"), comprising a military defence pact between Austria and Prussia in 1851
being the formal ratification by the Emperor and his chief minister of the treaty concluded by their envoys at the Conference of Dresden on 16 May 1851, uniting Austria and Prussia against any attack from a third party, whether from within or without the German Confederation, the Treaty laid out in four articles, outlining the conditions for military assistance, whereby the Emperor of Austria and the King of Prussia undertake to consider an attack on either as an attack on their own country, to be met with the full force of military might, the treaty to last for three years from the date of ratification, conferring military orders on the two foreign ministers the Austrian Freiherr Anton von Prokesch-Osten, and the Prussian Otto Theodor von Manteuffel
9 pages, folio (c.34.5 x 24.5cm), including calligraphic manuscript title ("Wir Franz Joseph der Erste von Gottes Gnaden Kaiser von Österreich..."), with the first page written on the verso of title, papered seal, gilt edges, final blank, Vienna, 20 May 1851, disbound, tears to final 2 leaves, including the signed page, creasing at folds
The defence pact concluded in May 1851 marked a period of relative success in Austria's rivalry with Prussia for dominance within the Confederation of German States. However, Schwarzenberg's hopes of including the entire Austrian Empire within the German Confederation and the Prussian counter proposal for a lesser German "Union" had both failed. To avoid war, Austria and Prussia accepted that a return to the old Confederation of 1815 would be the least harmful resolution of the crisis, which had ultimately been caused by the 1848 revolutions. The rivalry between Austria and Prussia was merely shelved, and time was decidedly on Prussia's side. A new treaty was signed in 1854.
"...Artikel I. Seine Majestät der Kaiser von Oesterreich verpflichtet sich, jeden Angriff auf irgend einen Punkt der Preussischen Staaten, möge dieser Punkt im Bereiche des deutschen Bundes liegen, oder nicht, wie einen Angriff auf seine eigenen Staaten zu betrachten, und in solchen Falle Seiner Majestät dem Könige von Preussen nicht blos mit den matrikularmässig im Bundeskriege zu stellenden Streitkräften, sondern mit der gesammten Heeresmacht des Kaiserstandes beizustehen. Gleichermassen verpflichtet Sich Seine Majestät der König von Preussen..."