THE UNKNOWN CONFESSOR TO THE HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR CHARLES VI (1711-40)

by Helena Fyfe Thonemann

Paperback;150 pages; 12 illustrations; a compilation from published and unpublished sources. From October 2008 it will be available either directly from York Publishing Services, or from any good bookshop, priced at 12.99. e.g. Blackwells Amazon...

Georg Tonneman (Tnneman), from Westphalia, Germany, arrived in Vienna in 1694, and speedily became known at the Habsburg court for his legal expertise. By 1701 he was appointed a tutor to Joseph von Lothringen. In 1705 he left Vienna for Barcelona, as the new Confessor to the Archduke Charles, claimant to the Spanish crown. For the remainder of his long life, he would be at Charles' side, accompanying him back to Austria in 1711, when Charles unexpectedly assumed the mantle of the Empire. Both men died in 1740. Charles was succeeded by his daughter Maria Theresa (1740-80). His granddaughter was Marie-Antoinette of France.

The importance of Tnneman has been noted, but is perhaps not yet fully recognised. In 1699 the Elector of Brandenburg wrote that "an uncommon Jesuit has prevailed in the courts". E. Vehse wrote, in 1856, of  "the influential confessor to Charles VI", and, in 1948, A.J.P. Taylor wrote that "the alliance of the dynasty and the Jesuits saved the Habsburgs, and defeated Protestantism in Central Europe".

The confessor's portrait (detail of face) on the front cover of the book was painted in 1738, to commemorate his Golden Jubilee as priest, and includes a portrait-medallion of Charles VI. (The copyright for the image is held by the Paderborn Museum)

Alan Palmer's endorsement.

Here is a pdf copy of the book.

The author was educated at Headington School, Oxford, and at the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London. Tonneman is, of course, her ancestor.