The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Fessler, Ignaz Aurelius

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FESSLER, fĕs'lėr, Ignaz Aurelius, Hungarian historian: b. Czurendorf, 18 May 1756; d. 15 Dec. 1839. He joined the Capuchin order in 1773 and six years later was ordained to the priesthood. In 1784 he sent a letter to Joseph II in which he suggested methods for bettering the education of the clergy and calling attention to irregularities in the monasteries. An investigation followed and Fessler found he had made many enemies. In that year he became professor of Oriental languages and hermeneutics in Lemberg. His tragedy ‘Sidney,’ published in 1788, raised another storm and Fessler fled to Silesia. He was converted to Lutheranism in 1791 and five years later removed to Berlin where he joined the Masonic order and founded a humanitarian society. He held a government post for a time but lost it in 1806 and spent three lean years until summoned to Saint Petersburg in 1809 by Alexander I, who made him court councillor and professor of Oriental languages at the Alexander-Nevski Academy. After many other changes he finally became chief superintendent of the Lutheran communities of Saint Petersburg. He was the author of many works of which his ‘History of Hungary’ is still of value. Consult his ‘Rückblick auf meine Liebzigjährige Pilgerschaft’ (2d ed., Leipzig 1851).