Abdication of Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
We Francis II., by the grace of God elected Roman Emperor, &c, &c. After the conclusion of the Peace of Pressburg Our whole care and attention was directed to the most complete discharge, with wonted good faith and conscientiousness, of all the engagements which We had entered into thereby, to securing the blessings of peace for Our people, to maintaining on all sides the peaceful relations thus happily restored, and to awaiting whether the substantial modifications introduced by this peace into the German Empire would render it possible for Us to continue to execute the heavy duties incumbent upon Us as Supreme Head of the Empire according to the capitulations (terms) of the Imperial election. The consequences, deduced from several of the articles of the Peace of Pressburg, immediately after its publication, and the events, generally known, which took place thereafter in the German Empire, have inspired Us with the conviction, that it will be impossible, under the circumstances which have supervened, to any longer fulfill the engagements entered into by the compact of election; and, whereas there still remained the possibility that, after the expeditious removal of the supervening political complications, an altered state of affairs might be produced, the expectation thus fostered has nevertheless been entirely annihilated by the agreement signed at Paris on July 12th, and since confirmed by the interested parties, whereby several important Estates are entirely severed from the Empire and united in a Confederation of their own.
Under the conviction, thus rendered complete, of the entire impossibility of any longer fulfilling the duties of Our Imperial office, We owe it to our principles and honour to renounce a crown, which could only so long have value in our eyes as We were in a measure to merit the confidence shown in Us by the Prince Electors, Princes, Estates, and other members of the German Empire and to carry out the duties We had undertaken.
We therefore declare by these presents that We regard the bond, which has up to now united Us to the body politic of the German Empire, as severed; that We consider the office and honour of Supreme Head of the Empire as lapsed owing to the union of the confederate Estates of the Rhine, and that We are thereby released from all duties undertaken with regard to the German Empire and the Imperial Crown worn and the Imperial rule conducted, on its account, as resigned, as is hereby done.
We at the same time absolve the Prince Electors, Princes, and Estates, and all members of the Empire, and in particular the members of the Imperial Supreme Courts, and the remainder of the Imperial Civil Service, from their duties, by which they were bound to Us by the constitution as legal Supreme Head of the Empire.
All Our German provinces and Imperial dominions We free on the other hand from all engagements which they owed under whatsoever title to the German Empire, and we shall as Emperor of Austria be diligent in bringing the same in their union with the body politic of Austria, and when peaceful relations have been restored with all powers and neighbouring States, to that pitch of happiness and prosperity, which is the aim of Our wishes, and will ever be the object of Our most earnest care.
Given in Our capital and residence of Vienna, August 6, 1806, in the 15th year of Our Empire, both Roman and hereditary.