. 5
( 13)


ceeded in putting ˜all Europe™ into ˜universal bondage™, then ˜our situation
as an island will never balance our situation in such a neighbourhood™.50
Likewise, Carteret lampooned those who called on Britons to ˜disregard
all the troubles and commotions of the continent, not to leave our own
island in search of enemies, but to attend our commerce and our plea-
sures™. In fact, he argued, ˜our own independence™, was closely linked to
the ˜liberties of the continent™.51
This was because eighteenth-century Britain was not, pace its naval
enthusiasts, generally believed to be an island in geopolitical terms.
Thanks to the personal union with Hanover it had been a composite
state since 1714, whose borders lay in north Germany as much as on
the Channel, the Atlantic or the North Sea. Hanover, as the opposition
Whig peer, the Earl of Chester¬eld, complained in a famous pamphlet,
˜robbed us of the bene¬t of being an island™.52 As Ragnhild Hatton once
pointed out, during this period Britain should more properly be called
˜Hanover-Britain™.53 Historians have tended to approach the Hanoverian
connection in terms of whether or not it distorted British foreign policy
for the personal ends of George I and George II.54 It may be more help-
ful, however, to conceive of the relationship as a symbiotic one, in which
the king and often his ministers tended to see British and Hanoverian
interests as one and the same.

48 Cited in Peters, Pitt and Popularity, p. 69.
49 Cobbett, XII, 10 December 1742, col. 1047.
50 Cobbett, XIII, 11 January 1744, col. 428.
51 Parliamentary speech of 27 January 1744, in J. H. Plumb and Joel H. Wiener (eds.),
Great Britain: Foreign Policy and the Span of Empire (New York, 1972), vol. I, pp. 85“6.
52 The Case of the Hanover Forces (1742) cited in Harding, ˜Dynastic Union™, p. 183.
53 Although the leading expert on the Personal Union insists that Britain and Hanover ˜were
always two distinct international realities™: R. Hatton, The Anglo-Hanoverian Connection
1714“1760 (1982 Creighton Lecture; London, 1982), p. 3.
54 See e.g. Black, British Foreign Policy in the Age of Walpole, p. 29 and Pares, ˜American ver-
sus Continental Warfare™, p. 447, on the question of separating Hanoverian and general
continental concerns.
British strategic culture, 1714“1760 119

A glance at both con¬dential correspondence and public rhetoric bears
this out. Viscount Townshend, then Secretary of State for the northern
department, argued in the early 1720s that there was nobody who did not
see that ˜the interests of His Majesty as King and Elector were inseparable
and that his German affairs could not suffer without weakening his gov-
ernment here™. Even if ˜His Majesty had two characters/identities, He was
the same person and consequently had the same interest™.55 Three years
later Townshend reminded his correspondent that ˜we all serve one mas-
ter and the British as well as the German minister must obey his orders
as they see ¬t to give us™.56 In the early 1740s, Lord Carteret warned that
˜all the weight and power™ of Great Britain would be exerted in defence of
the king™s ˜German dominions . . . whenever they shall be involved with
England in the great and general cause™.57 Likewise, in the Seven Years™
War the Earl of Hardwicke argued that ˜The case of Great Britain and
Hanover [was] mixed and entangled.™58 Indeed, when British statesmen
had the opportunity to neutralise Hanover, as they did in 1726, 1741 and
1757, they declined to do so, mainly for strategic reasons. Hanover was
integrated into “ some said subordinated to “ a common European strat-
egy.59 British and Hanoverian diplomats worked together closely, if not
without friction, throughout the period, particularly under Townshend
in the 1720s and the Newcastle“Muenchhausen partnership in the late
1740s and early 1750s.60 In short, as the Tory Baron Bathurst put it
in a mid-century pamphlet, Britain had a ˜naturalized tenure among the
Germanic body on the continent™.61 Britain was perceived geographically
and strategically not as an island but as a European state.
To many, therefore, the idea that Britain had the principal role to play in
the maintenance of the balance of power was axiomatic.62 Moreover, the
balance was not self-perpetuating: it required active British management.

55 Townshend to St Saphorin, 22 August 1721, Whitehall, NHStA, Hann. 91 St Saphorin
Nr 1/I, fos. 102“3.
56 Townshend to St Saphorin, 6 March 1724, Whitehall, NHStA, Hann. 91 St Saphorin
Nr 1/II, fo. 220.
57 Cited in Williams, Carteret and Newcastle, p. 127.
58 Hardwicke to Newcastle, 11 September 1757, in P. C. Yorke (ed.), The Life and Corre-
spondence of Philip Yorke, Earl of Hardwicke (3 vols., Cambridge, 1913) (hereafter Hard-
wicke), III, p. 176.
59 See e.g. Carteret™s remarks cited in Harding, ˜Dynastic Union™, p. 211; Williams, Carteret
and Newcastle, p. 127.
60 For examples of both cooperation and tension see Townshend to St Saphorin, 21 Febru-
ary 1724, Whitehall, NHStA, Hann. 91 St Saphorin Nr 1/I, fo. 216; ibid., 6 March 1724,
fos. 219“20.
61 A Letter to a Friend concerning the Electorate of Hanover (London, 1744), cited in Harding,
˜Dynastic Union™, p. 212.
62 See in general terms Michael Sheehan ˜Balance of Power Intervention: Britain™s Deci-
sions for or against War, 1733“56™, Diplomacy and Statecraft 7/2 (1996), pp. 271“89;
120 Brendan Simms

As one parliamentarian observed in mid-1730s ˜though all the nations
of Europe are equally concerned with us in preserving the balance of
power, yet some of them may be blind to their own interest; nay it is
very probable some of them always will™. Therefore, he argued, Britain
should not ˜neglect what is necessary for our own security™ or refuse to
contribute to maintaining the balance. One peer, Lord Cholmondeley,
remarked in the House of Lords in April 1741, that it was up to Britain to
rally Europe: ˜till we take the lead, other powers will not stir™.63 Likewise,
the Whig MP Thomas Winnington justi¬ed the dispatch of troops to
Flanders in April 1742 ˜because it will shew that we are not only willing
but ready to join with those other powers of Europe, who ought to have
as great an interest, and ought to have an equal concern for preserving a
balance of power in Europe™.64
But Britain not merely had a calling to maintain the balance, it also
had a clear interest in doing so. It was only the European balance, British
diplomats, statesmen and members of parliament believed, that stood
between Britain and the threat of ˜universal monarchy™,65 which would
not only destroy British commerce, but would bring in its train the return
of the Stuarts and the subversion of the Revolution Settlement of 1688.
As Carteret argued in December 1741, ˜The liberty and repose of Europe
is almost lost; after which we shall not keep ours long.™66 It was for this
reason that the ˜liberties of Europe™ and the ˜Protestant cause™ were often
spoken of in the same breath. The European balance persuaded Britons,
albeit grudgingly, to overcome their inhibitions about standing armies,
dig into their pockets and endorse the annual Mutiny Bill, as well as
demands for subsidies to continental powers.67
Admittedly, Sir Robert Walpole, who dominated British politics in the
two decades before 1740, was a rather important exception. He was as
much of a Tory in foreign policy as he was a Whig at home; he famously
kept Britain out of the War of the Polish Succession. Yet throughout his
long ascendancy, foreign policy tended to be dominated by the more
interventionist Secretaries of State, especially the Duke of Newcastle,
Townshend and Carteret, and the monarch himself. This was certainly
true of the 1720s, though in the 1730s Walpole did assert himself more

˜The Sincerity of the British Commitment to the Maintenance of the Balance of Power,
1714“1763™, Diplomacy and Statecraft 15/3 (2004), pp. 489“506.
63 Cobbett, XII, 9 April 1741, col. 149.
64 Cobbett, XII, 29 April 1742, col. 614.
65 On ˜universal monarchy™ in contemporary rhetoric see (re France) Carteret, in Cobbett,
XIII, 1 December 1743, col. 129.
66 Cobbett, XII, 4 December 1741, col. 227.
67 E.g. Cobbett, XII, 10 December 1742, col. 942.
British strategic culture, 1714“1760 121

effectively. But even then, Walpole was less hostile to Hanover and
ignorant of European affairs than is sometimes supposed.68 And when
Walpole fell in 1742 it was not for domestic reasons, but because he had
been accused of the unforgivable sin of neglecting the European balance
of power, by abandoning Austria in the face of a resurgent France. In the
end, the prevailing culture of intervention proved too strong for him.
For much of the eighteenth century, certainly from the 1730s to the
1770s, British statesmen deemed the principal threat to the European bal-
ance to be France. In the 1720s, however, there were widespread fears
of Austrian, Spanish and even Russian pretensions to ˜universal monar-
chy™, or at least regional hegemony in key areas such as the Baltic and
the Mediterranean. In every case, with the single exception of Orthodox
Russia, the antagonist was Roman Catholic. It is also true that in con-
temporary rhetoric, anti-popery, the Protestant cause and the balance of
power were closely connected. But ˜universal monarchy™ was essentially
a political, not a confessional, term. It had been, after all, applied to
the Protestant Dutch in the seventeenth century, and it never prevented
alliances with Catholic great powers, primarily Austria, but also France.69

All this required a very high level of conceptual ¬‚exibility from British
statesmen and diplomats. Most of the time it made sense to view the
territorial con¬guration of Europe as a system of barriers designed to
contain France. The two Bourbon courts of Madrid and Versailles must
be kept apart at all costs; never again should a French king be able to
proclaim, as Louis XIV once had, that there were ˜no more Pyrenees™.
Piedmont-Savoy had to be bolstered to keep the French out of Italy;
the Austrian presence there was to be nurtured. The British presence
in Gibraltar and especially Minorca served to curb Spain, and after the
breakdown of the entente in 1731, France as well. The loss of Naples and
Sicily to a branch of the Spanish Bourbons after the Habsburg defeats in
the War of the Polish Succession was therefore a major blow to Britain™s

68 See the slightly two-edged account in Jeremy Black, ˜An “Ignoramus” in European
Affairs?™, British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 6 (1983), pp. 55“65 and Nick
Harding, ˜Sir Robert Walpole and Hanover™, Historical Research 76/192 (May 2003),
pp. 165“86.
69 On the subject of religion and English/British foreign policy see Steven C. A. Pincus,
Protestantism and Patriotism: Ideologies and the Making of English Foreign Policy, 1650“1668
(Cambridge, 1996) and Andrew C. Thompson, ˜The Protestant Interest and Foreign
Policy in Britain and Hanover, c. 1719“1740™ (Ph.D. thesis, University of Cambridge,
2002), which was published as Britain, Hanover and the Protestant Interest, 1688“1756
(Woodbridge, 2006).
122 Brendan Simms

European policy. First of all, because it made the containment of French
thrusts into Italy more dif¬cult. Secondly, because it subverted Austrian
power more generally and thus the balance of power as a whole.
Central Europe was equally if not more important. At ¬rst sight this
may seem surprising. Britain had continuous diplomatic accreditation
only to the two largest German states, Austria and Prussia,70 and the
level of representation was uneven.71 In fact, the Holy Roman Empire
was an important pillar of the European system; maintaining its integrity
against French encroachments was a high priority in Whitehall. ˜The
Empire™, Henry Pelham claimed in April 1741, ˜may be considered as
the bulwark of Great Britain, which if it be thrown down, leaves us naked
and defenceless™;72 he was using the term in its non-colonial sense, of
course. Similarly, George Doddington claimed that ˜France knows very
well, that the German Empire, when united, is a body too mighty for
her to encounter.™73 Critical to this unity was strong leadership from the
emperor.74 ˜It is for the general interest of Europe™, Newcastle wrote in
the mid-1740s, ˜that the Imperial Crown should be ¬xed in the House of
Austria, late experience has, I think, suf¬ciently shewd. A weak emperor
will be (and sooner or later must be) a French emperor.™75 British elite
opinion was correspondingly aghast when the territory of Lorraine, which
many regarded as an outer rampart or ˜barrier™ for the empire, was lost
to France.76
The resulting familiarity of British politicians with the complexities
of the Holy Roman Empire is well documented. Thus Townshend was
forced into the highways and byways of the droit de non appellando and
other imperial arcana in the 1720s.77 On other occasions, even Town-
shend had to admit defeat. ˜I confess™, he remarked vis-` -vis George I™s
obsession with the imperial investitures of Bremen and Verden, ˜that I am
not suf¬ciently familiar with the laws of the Empire and its particular con-
stitutional structure.™78 He did know enough, however, to recognise his
own ignorance; he may, of course, merely have been tactfully suggesting to

70 See Horn, Britain and Europe, p. 178.
71 See D. B. Horn (ed.), British Diplomatic Representatives, 1689“1789, RHS, Camden Third
Series, vol. XLVI (London, 1932), pp. 40“69.
72 Cobbett, XII, 13 April 1741, col. 178.
73 Cobbett, XIII, 6 December 1743, col. 259.
74 See Horn, Britain and Europe, p. 198.
75 Newcastle to Chester¬eld, 22 February 1745, Newcastle House, in Richard Lodge (ed.),
Private Correspondence of Chester¬eld and Newcastle, 1744“46 (London, 1930), p. 16.
76 See the remarks of an anonymous parliamentarian in Cobbett, IX, 15 January 1736,
cols. 981“2.
77 See Townshend to St Saphorin, 7 November 1721, Whitehall, NHStA, Hann. 91 St
Saphorin Nr 1/I, fo. 196.
78 Townshend to St Saphorin, 20 June 1721, Whitehall, NHStA Hann. 91 Nr 1/I, fo. 48.
British strategic culture, 1714“1760 123

his master that this was a Hanoverian, not a British, matter. To the elder
William Pitt, recommending the imperial jurist Samuel von Pufendorf
to his nephew at Cambridge came quite naturally; he praised another
learned tome ˜relating to the Empire of Germany™ as ˜an admirable book
in its kind, and esteemed of the best authority in matters much contro-
verted™.79 Pitt also showed a familiarity with German politics during the
relevant parliamentary debates, at least when it suited him.80
Just across the Channel was the ˜barrier™ itself: here the Treaty of
Utrecht (1713) had erected a ring of Dutch-garrisoned fortresses, backed
up by the Austrian Habsburgs in present-day Belgium to prevent French
troops from ¬‚ooding into Flanders and towards the Dutch Republic. The
progressive decline of the Dutch, and the steady loss of Austrian inter-
est in maintaining the ˜barrier™, profoundly affected the way in which
the British elite thought about Europe from the mid-1730s onwards.81
As one ministerial pamphleteer argued towards the end of the War of
the Austrian Succession, ˜this island would be the seat of the war, if
once our out-works on the continent were entirely in the possession
of the enemy™.82 The choice of words here is interesting: the ¬rst line
of defence is not the Channel “ the ˜moat defensive to a house™ of Shake-
spearian and navalist rhetoric “ but the mainland itself. Ten years later,
Newcastle lamented to Bentinck that he saw ˜the great system upon the
point of being dissolved “ the court of Vienna is driving the Republick
and with her this country from them, as fast as they can™. If the Dutch
withdrew their garrisons from the Barrier towns, Newcastle continued,
˜the system founded upon the Grand Alliance is at an end™.83
The greatest hindrance to the British strategic conceptualisation of
Europe, however, was not necessarily the decrepitude of the barrier, but
its redundance. This was most obviously the case in the two decades after
the Utrecht treaty, when the elaborate system devised to contain France
proved “ rather like the guns at Singapore in 1942 “ to be pointing the
wrong way. During this period, British interests were threatened in the
Baltic by Russia, in the Mediterranean by Spain, and in central Europe
by the growing ambition of the Emperor Charles VI. In these circum-
stances, British policy had to be thrown into reverse. During the years

79 See Thomas Pitt to Pitt, 12 October 1756, in W. S. Taylor and J. H. Pringle (eds.),
The Correspondence of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, vol. I (London, 1838), pp. 176“7.
Pitt to Thomas Pitt, 13 January 1756, Horse Guards, in Taylor and Pringle (eds.), The
Correspondence of Pitt, I, p. 152.
80 81 See Horn, Britain and Europe, p. 56.
See Cobbett, XIV, cols. 965“7.
82 Cited in Conway, ˜Continental Connections™, p. 358.
83 Newcastle to Bentinck (copy), 17 December 1754, Newcastle House, BL, Add. MSS
32851, fos. 327“8.
124 Brendan Simms

immediately after Utrecht, Stanhope concluded an alliance with France
(1716“31), boxed in Spain to the south through the Quadruple Alliance
and, less successfully, sought to contain Peter the Great in the north. It
is no coincidence that George I then became, as Jeremy Black has put it,
something of a ˜Protestant crusader™ on behalf of the Protestant states in
the empire against the emperor.84
In order to master the challenges thrown up by the state system, the
British elite conceived of Europe in the round. This meant keeping an eye
on several evolving local balances simultaneously. Some areas mattered
much more than others, but each part of Europe was believed to be con-
nected. Thus the Duke of Newcastle, the Secretary of State for the south,
remarked in February 1725 that ˜the affairs of the North and South are
so interwoven together, that any stand or rub that happens in either place
must in consequence affect the other™.85 Soon afterwards, Townshend
highlighted the link between the Mediterranean and the Baltic balances
by observing that ˜Tho the ¬re begins so farr off as Gibraltar, yet the train
is so laid that the ¬‚ame would soon reach to the north.™86 In the same
spirit, a decade later, Newcastle reported that George II had responded
to French attempts to bring Sweden into the War of the Polish Succes-
sion with the observation that ˜if Sweden was to take part in the war in
the north that could not but in¬‚uence the general affairs of Europe™.87
Twenty years after that, the Secretary of State for the southern depart-
ment, Thomas Robinson, articulated the complexity of the balance when
he remarked that ˜We can do nothing without the Dutch, the Dutch
nothing without the Austrians, nor the Austrians anything without the
Nowhere was the interconnectedness of Europe more evident than
on the dynastic front. Here Britain™s assets were limited. As a Protes-
tant power in a world dominated by the larger Catholic dynasties, there
were relatively few options, and the conversion of the Saxon Elector to
become King of Poland narrowed them still further. An Anglo-French
marriage was mooted by Paris in the early 1720s, but turned down by
George I largely for confessional reasons. A match with the Stadtholder in
the mid-1730s was in part designed to shore up the increasingly moribund

84 Jeremy Black, British Foreign Policy in the Age of Walpole (Edinburgh, 1985), p. 119.
85 Cited in Chance, Alliance of Hanover, p. 1.
86 Ibid., p. 492.
87 Newcastle to Waldegrave (draft), 6 June 1734, Whitehall, BL, Add. MSS 32785,
fo. 132.
88 Cited in D. B. Horn, Sir Charles Hanbury Williams and European Diplomacy, 1747“58
(London, 1930), p. 202.
British strategic culture, 1714“1760 125

Dutch.89 Apart from Scandinavia, Britain was for the most part limited to
unions with the middling and smaller German states. In the mid-1750s,
for example, several marriages were mooted to bolster the defence of
Hanover and “ especially “ the alliance with Prussia.90 Of course, the
traction provided by marriage should not be overestimated: the dismal
state of Anglo-Prussian relations in the 1720s was caused by the mutual
hatred between George I and his son-in-law, Frederick William I.
The potential threat from European dynastic marriages was enormous.
In this period more than any other since, British statesmen and diplomats
lived ¬guratively with almanacs, court calendars and royal genealogies in
one hand and a map of Europe in the other. The greatest continuous
dynastic headache facing Britain in the early eighteenth century was the
Austrian succession. Ever since the early 1720s, it was probable that
Charles VI would die without a male heir. Whether or not the daughters
of his elder brother or “ as Charles himself laid down in the Pragmatic
Sanction “ his own eldest daughter Maria Theresa succeeded was not
important in itself. What was immensely signi¬cant was whether and
under which circumstances the Habsburg inheritance would be passed
on undivided, or partitioned. In the 1720s, when relations with Austria
were abysmal, and a dynastic union with Spain in the of¬ng, Britain
was reluctant to endorse the Pragmatic Sanction and thus an immense
Austro-Spanish conglomerate. By the 1730s, when it became imperative
to shore up Austrian power in central Europe as a bulwark to France,
there was no keener advocate of the Pragmatic Sanction. Clearly, some
deaths and marriages mattered much more than others, depending largely
on whether they changed the nature of the strategic map.
Looking at Europe in the round brought opportunities as well as
challenges: one of the standard tactics of British statesmen in the 1720s
was to attempt to mobilise the Ottoman Turks against the Russians. Thus
Townshend instructed the British envoy to Constantinople in November
1725, Abraham Stanyan, that the Russians should be pinned down in Asia
to make them ˜less attentive and less enterprising to create trouble and
uneasiness to the King on this side™.91 Likewise in the mid-1750s, Russia
was mobilised to deter Prussia from attacking Hanover. These examples
show not so much that these strategies were subtle or well founded, but
that British statesmen explicitly conceived of Europe and Britain™s place
in very broad terms.

89 See Veronica Baker-Smith, A Life of Anne of Hanover, Princess Royal (Leiden, New York,
Cologne, 1995).
90 On this see Muenchhausen to Newcastle (copy), 24 February 1756, Hanover, NHStA,
Hann. 91 Muenchhausen I, Nr 22, fo. 40.
91 Cited in Chance, Alliance of Hanover, p. 214.
126 Brendan Simms

There was, however, one serious barrier to integrated thinking in
foreign policy: the division between the southern and northern Secre-
taryships of State. The Northern Secretary dealt with Austria, United
Provinces, Prussia, Poland, the Holy Roman Empire, Denmark, Sweden
and Russia. The Southern Secretary was responsible for France, Spain,
the Italian states, Portugal, Switzerland and the Ottoman Empire. This
could lead to a bifurcation in strategic vision, with the inevitable fric-
tion that entailed. Strictly speaking, neither of the secretaries was sub-
ordinated to the other. It has been claimed that the Southern Secretary,
who until 1768 was also responsible for the colonies, was ex of¬cio the
more senior of the two.92 This may be the case for most of Newcas-
tle™s later tenure in the 1730s and 1740s, but it would not be true for
the 1720s, when Townshend was clearly the dominant ¬gure. In some
cases, responsibility was clear: bilateral relations with Prussia were always
likely to be handled by the Northern Secretary; those with Portugal by the
Southern Secretary. France, which was diplomatically heavily committed
across Europe, was a less straightforward case, but generally fell within
the purview of the Southern Secretary. Russia, however, posed particular
dif¬culties. Baltic issues were obviously the remit of the Northern Sec-
retary, and most dealings with St Petersburg took place within a broadly
north German or north European context.
And yet, as we have seen, British statesmen also tried to use the
Ottoman Empire “ the responsibility of the Southern Secretary “ against
Russia. The same blurring of competencies was also to be seen in slightly
less extreme form with regard to Austria, which was a central, western
and southern European power. The resulting confusion was summed up
in August 1736 by the veteran diplomat Horace Walpole the Elder: ˜I do
not wonder™, he wrote, ˜at [our] embarrass in . . . negotiations; consul-
tations and orders are carried on in England with such confusion and
in so undigested a manner; the affairs of Turkey are in the province of
one Secretary [of State], the directions to be sent to the Hague belong to
the department of another, these two I believe see one another but little,
and I perceive that one [Harrington] writing nothing at all and the other
[Newcastle] will not suffer nobody but himself to think or write anything
that may concern his province.™93
The danger of hasty and unre¬‚ective engagement in Europe, of course,
was that Britain might become the ˜Don Quixote™ of Europe, tilting at
imaginary threats to the balance. In March 1734, at the height of the
War of the Polish Succession, in which Britain remained neutral, one

92 Most recently by Rodger, Command of the Ocean, p. 258.
93 Cited in Black, ˜Recovering Lost Years™, p. 482.
British strategic culture, 1714“1760 127

parliamentarian exclaimed, ˜For God™s sake Sir, are we thus to be eternally
the dupes of Europe? If the emperor, or any other power, neglects to keep
their forti¬ed places in a proper posture of defence, must we answer for
that neglect? Are we, for the sake of preserving the balance of power to
undertake, at our own charges, to defend every power in Europe, and to
prevent their being invaded or conquered by any of their neighbours?™94
Ten years later, the MP Edmund Waller warned that ˜we have of late
got into a ridiculous custom, of making ourselves the Don Quixotes of
Europe; and sometimes under the pretence of preserving a balance of
power in Europe, at other times under the pretence of preserving a balance
of power in the north, we have engaged . . . in the quarrel of almost
every state in Europe, that has, by its impudence or ambition, brought
itself into any distress. The consequence is, that whilst we take upon
ourselves the burden of defending our allies, they give themselves very
little trouble about defending themselves.™95 Britain thus risked, as the
parliamentarian John Philipps warned in December 1741, becoming a
˜knight errant™, wasting the nation™s blood and treasure on sel¬‚ess quests
which European powers should be undertaking themselves.96

The instruments which British statesmen could bring to bear in support
of their European policy were varied, but also problematic. One option
was pre-emption or unilateral military intervention. Here the Royal Navy
proved itself a useful instrument of British European policy. In 1718,
for example, Admiral Byng famously worsted the Spanish ¬‚eet off Cape
Passaro before the declaration of war, and thus wrecked Madrid™s attempt
to dominate the western and central Mediterranean. Pre-emptive strikes
were also widely canvassed as tension mounted with Spain in the late
1730s. In 1742 Commodore Martin appeared in the Bay of Naples and
threatened to level the royal palace if its ruler did not come to heel. Pre-
emptive strikes were actually carried out against French shipping in 1755,
well before the formal outbreak of hostilities. The lessons of Frederick
the Great™s surprise attack on Silesia were also taken to heart. In October
1761, for example, the parliamentarian George Lyttleton demanded that
Britain should act ˜` la Prussienne and strike ¬rst, while the enemy was

94 Anon. parliamentarian, 28 March 1734, Cobbett, IX, col. 599.
95 Cobbett, XIII, 11 January 1744, col. 425.
96 Cobbett, XII, 6 December 1742, col. 914.
97 Quoted in Jeremy Black, Pitt the Elder (Cambridge, 1992), p. 224.
128 Brendan Simms

Unilateral military, principally naval, intervention, was however a very
limited and imprecise instrument.98 It suf¬ced neither to intimidate Peter
the Great in the Baltic between 1716 and 1720, not least because the
Royal Navy could not follow his galleys into shallow waters, nor to master
Spain in 1739“41, nor to compensate for Britain™s weakness on land in
the ¬nal years of the War of the Austrian Succession, 1746“7. Moreover,
Britain was simply not strong enough to right the European balance on
its own. Its peacetime regular army was larger than that of a middling
German state, to be sure, but substantially smaller than the Prussian and
Austrian armed forces, not to mention those of France. Between 1714
and 1740, there were on average some 35,000 men available for service
around the world.99
Central to the culture of intervention, therefore, was a realisation that
the British power was limited and that British interests could only be
achieved in cooperation with other states. The resulting reliance on diplo-
macy and European alliances, often backed up by Britain™s formidable
¬scal power in the shape of subsidies, made Britain a state like any other,
and diluted her sense of exceptionalism. It was for this reason that the
former arch-unilateralist William Pitt announced in late 1759 that he had
˜unlearned his juvenile errors, and thought no longer that England could
do it all by herself ™.100
If much of the public sphere, the louder parliamentary voices and some
of the more raf¬sh politicians wrapped themselves in the naval ¬‚ag, at the
expense of the European connection, the anti-unilateral re¬‚ex among the
elite was stronger. Here the traumatic experience of the Treaty of Utrecht,
when Britain had abandoned its continental allies, resonated throughout
the ¬rst half of the century.101 It made British statesmen cautious of court-
ing popularity at the expense of the true national interest. ˜I remember the
great approbation given to the treaty of Utrecht™, Carteret remarked in
February 1741, ˜and in a little time the makers of it impeached. The cap-
ital fault of it was making France too strong, and Germany too weak.™102
Pulling out of Europe, another parliamentarian argued not long after,

98 On the ˜practical problems of employing naval power to achieve diplomatic ends™ see
Black, America or Europe, p. 60, and Black, ˜British Naval Power and International
Commitments: Political and Strategic Problems, 1688“1770™, in Michael Duffy (ed.),
Parameters of British Naval Power, 1650“1850 (Exeter, 1992), esp. pp. 39 and 43. See
also Richmond, The Navy as an Instrument of Policy, p. 380 and passim.
99 See John Childs, ˜The Army and the State in Britain and Germany during the Eigh-
teenth Century™, in Brewer and Hellmuth (eds.), Re-thinking Leviathan, p. 56.
100 Quoted in Peters, Pitt and Popularity, p. 158.
101 On this see now most recently Jens Metzdorf, Politik-Propaganda-Patronage. Francis Hare
und die englische Publizistik im spanischen Erbfolgekrieg (Mainz, 2000), pp. 353“416.
102 Cobbett, XI, 13 February 1741, col. 1047.
British strategic culture, 1714“1760 129

˜will be a more unjusti¬able measure than the desertion of the Grand
Alliance in 1712™.103 It was this same re¬‚ex which caused William Pitt
to announce at the height of the Seven Years™ War “ December 1758 “
that ˜he would not give up an iota of our allies for any British considera-
tion™.104 Indeed, after Pitt™s resignation in 1761, ostensibly over Spain but
really because of the abandonment of the Prussians, one friend conjured
up the spectre of ˜Gertrudenberg and Utrecht™.105 Pitt himself referred
to the ˜treaty of Utrecht, the indelible reproach of the last generation™.106
All this contributed to a culture of strategic restraint: here minis-
ters differed from the militant pamphleteers and hawkish parliamen-
tarians determined on colonial despoliation. They knew that unilateral
action could jeopardise Britain™s defence of the European balance, and
indeed provoke an anti-hegemonic re¬‚ex against it. It was for this rea-
son that British statesmen hesitated to push home their maritime advan-
tage against France towards the end of the Seven Years™ War. Newcastle
observed that ˜to think of being able to extirpate the French from north
America, or if we could, that our business was done by doing so, or that
such a nation as France would sit down tamely under it, is to me the
idlest of all imaginings™.107 The Duke of Bedford, a former Secretary of
State, claimed that ˜the endeavouring to drive France entirely out of any
naval power is ¬ghting against nature and . . . must excite all the naval
powers of Europe to enter into a confederacy against us as adopting a
system™.108 Even Pitt conceded the force of these arguments. ˜He sees™,
as one observer noted, ˜that in order to obtain peace, so much of our
acquisitions must be given up.™109
This shows that the European balance of power was explicitly accorded
a much higher priority than colonial or commercial concerns.110 Thus
British statesmen were slow to anger over colonial ˜depredations™ in the
1730s, for fear of driving Spain further into the French camp in Europe,
where Britain was temporarily isolated. It was the failure of Walpole to

103 Cobbett, XIII, 11 January 1744, col. 392.
104 Cited in Peters, Pitt and Popularity, p. 133.
105 Bishop of Gloucester to Pitt, 17 October 1761, Prior Park, in Taylor and Pringle (eds.),
The Correspondence of Pitt, II, p. 161.
106 Pitt to Keene, 23 August 1757, Whitehall, in Taylor and Pringle (eds.), The Correspon-
dence of Pitt, I, p. 251.
107 Quoted in Browning, Newcastle, p. 268.
108 Bedford to Bute, 9 July 1761, in Lord John Russell (ed.), Correspondence of John, Fourth
Duke of Bedford, vol. III (London, 1846), p. 26.
109 Hardwicke to Newcastle, 10 April 1760, Moor Park, in Yorke (ed.), Hardwicke, III,
p. 245.
110 For a well-argued sceptical view see N. A. M. Rodger, ˜The Continental Commitment
in the Eighteenth Century™, in Lawrence Freedman, Paul Hayes and Robert O™Neill
(eds.), War, Strategy and International Politics (Oxford, 1992), pp. 39“55.
130 Brendan Simms

stop the threatened partition of the Habsburg lands in 1740“1 which
holed his administration below the waterline, not the much-criticised
handling of the war with Spain. Similarly, at the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle,
the Canadian fortress of Louisburg, wrested with such fanfare from the
French three years earlier, was exchanged for a French withdrawal from
the Low Countries, a much more vital area of British interest.111 Truly, as
Jack Sosin remarked, drawing on Canning™s subsequent famous phrase,
˜the New World had redressed the balance of the old™.112
It is signi¬cant that in the early stages of the Seven Years™ War, Pitt ini-
tially asked not for the Southern Secretaryship, with its colonial respon-
sibilities, but for the northern department. Whatever his public rhetoric
and later myth, therefore, Europe remained his principal preoccupation
throughout. In June“July 1757, at the height of the war, there were many
more ships and men deployed on the near side of the Atlantic.113 The
famous coastal expeditions against St Malo, Brest and Rochefort were not
so much expressions of naval virtue as a desperate attempt to draw off
French resources and thus ease the pressure on Britain™s only continental
ally, Frederick the Great. Even at the height of the con¬‚ict, the impe-
rial apotheosis of 1759, the year of victories, most British regular forces
were to be found in Europe rather than overseas, and the contingent in
Germany was actually increased in 1760.114 For most of the war, which
is now remembered very much as an imperial venture, British of¬cers “
including General Wolfe, the hero of Quebec “ longed for European rather
than colonial postings. In December 1758, Wolfe as yet unaware of his
impending rendezvous with imperial destiny, lamented that ˜it is my mis-
fortune to be cursed with American services™, whereas his friend was lucky
enough ˜to serve in an army commanded by a great and able Prince™, that
is the Duke of Brunswick.115
In short, by mid-century a coherent British strategic culture had
emerged. It was ¬rmly Eurocentric: it gave absolute priority to preventing
the growth of a hegemon on the continent, from the 1730s a role taken by
France after a generation when Spain, Russia and Austria had all played

111 On this see the authoritative work of Manfred Mimler, Der Ein¬‚uss kolonialer Interessen in
Nordamerika auf die Strategie und Diplomatie Grossbritanniens w¨ hrend des Osterreichischen
Erbfolgekrieges 1744“1748. Ein Beitrag zur Identit¨ tsbestimmung des britischen Empire
um die Mitte des 18. Jahrundert (Hildesheim, Zurich, New York, 1983), p. 135 and
112 Jack M. Sosin, ˜Louisburg and the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle 1748™, William and Mary
Quarterly 14 (1957), p. 535.
113 For the ¬gures see Middleton, Bells of Victory, p. 25.
114 See the ¬gures in W. D. Bird, ˜British Land Strategy™, part 3, Army Quarterly 21 (1930“
1), p. 50.
115 Cited in Middleton, Bells of Victory, p. 101.
British strategic culture, 1714“1760 131

that part. This culture was mainly, though not exclusively, Whig. In this
culture political and diplomatic instruments counted as much as military
or naval ones; sometimes more so. It was restrained and conscious of the
limits of British power. It generally subordinated narrowly naval and colo-
nial to continental European concerns. Underpinning everything was a
powerful sense of structure: Europe was conceived as an overall balance
with a combination of regional balances. The British elite was generally
well informed about Europe, and all times sensitive, perhaps overly so,
to potential dynastic permutations and geopolitical revolutions. British
statesmen thought and spoke of Europe in terms of ˜systems™, ˜barriers™
and ˜natural™ allies, such as the Habsburgs. Rather than being ¬xated on
the ˜moat™ of the surrounding silver sea, they conceived of the European
mainland itself as an integral part of Britain™s defences “ a ˜rampart™. Pace
Walpole, they were expected to be and often perforce were ˜ministers of
With the accession of George III in 1760, and the triumphant end
to the Seven Years™ War in 1763, this strategic culture did not change
overnight. As Hamish Scott has shown,116 British statesmen continued
to see Europe as their primary focus, but they were now working within a
context which was more stridently colonial and maritime than anything
they had previously known. Unlike the ¬rst forty-odd years after 1714,
they now found themselves working with a monarch “ George III “ who
was ¬rmly opposed to the ˜German War™; he sought to safeguard Hanover
primarily through the structures of the Holy Roman Empire rather than
European alliances. Moreover, British statesmen were themselves not
immune from the naval exuberance which had accompanied victory in
the Seven Years™ War; and they were less willing than an earlier generation
to make concessions in support of a continental alliance. As Jeremy Black
put it, the ˜interventionist habit of mind . . . was lost as far as Europe
was involved™.117 In this new conception of the world, the colonial empire
now loomed much larger.
Contrast, for example, Newcastle™s heroic if futile efforts to implement
an Imperial Election scheme in the early 1750s, with the steadfast refusal
of British statesmen, twenty years later, to agree to the ˜Turkish Clause™
with Russia. The new men seemed unable to grasp that if they wanted
European powers to act on Britain™s behalf, they would need to offer them
something in return. They were also less able to adapt to shifting balances.

116 Scott, British Foreign Policy in the Age of the American Revolution, passim.
117 See Black, America or Europe?, p. 102 and Daniel A. Baugh, ˜Withdrawing from Europe:
Anglo-French Maritime Geopolitics, 1750“1800™, International History Review 20/1
(1998), pp. 1“32.
132 Brendan Simms

Contrast the speed with which Stanhope adjusted to the Russo-Spanish
threat after 1716, with the helplessness with which British statesmen
watched the balance of power shift eastwards after 1763. Contrast, ¬nally,
the sophisticated debates on Europe of the ¬rst part of the century with
the parliamentary ignorance and indifference of the 1760s and 1770s. It
can come as no surprise that, before long, Britain was to be isolated in
Europe and famously went down to defeat in America.
7 Confessional power and the power of
confession: concealing and revealing the
faith in Alpine Salzburg, 1730“1734

James Van Horn Melton
Emory University

In the eighteenth century, the archbishopric of Salzburg “ like the Elec-
torate of Mainz, the subject of Tim Blanning™s ¬rst monograph “ was
a semi-independent territory of the Holy Roman Empire ruled by an
ecclesiastical prince who wielded both secular and ecclesiastical authority.
Like Mainz and other ecclesiastical principalities of the empire, Salzburg
retained its semi-autonomous status up to the Napoleonic era, when it
was ¬nally absorbed by Habsburg Austria. Today it is of course Mozart,
Salzburg™s native prodigy, who dominates its carefully burnished baroque
facade. But around the time of Mozart™s birth in 1756, Salzburg™s repu-
tation “ at least in Protestant Europe “ was coloured by a very different
image. It grew out of the notorious Emigrationspatent (1731) of Arch-
bishop Leopold Anton Freiherr von Firmian, an edict that resulted in the
expulsion of more than 20,000 Protestants (most of them Lutheran peas-
ants and farmhands) in the years between 1731 and 1734. The majority
sought refuge in Protestant Prussia; the remainder settled in other ter-
ritories of the empire, with a few hundred migrating to James Edward
Oglethorpe™s newly founded colony of Georgia. The expulsions occa-
sioned a torrent of protest throughout Protestant Europe, while in the
empire itself, as Mack Walker has shown, the extraordinary quantity of
pamphlets and published sermons sparked by the expulsions made it one
of the most resounding causes c´l`bres of the century.1 In this regard, the
episode is a pointed reminder of a theme running throughout Professor

1 Mack Walker, The Salzburg Transaction: Expulsion and Redemption in Eighteenth-Century
Germany (Ithaca and London, 1992). The standard Austrian account, written from a
Protestant point of view, is Gerhard Florey, Geschichte der Salzburger Protestanten und ihrer
Emigration 1731/32 (2nd edn, Salzburg, 1986), while Franz Ortner, Reformation, katholis-
che Reform und Gegenreformation im Erzstift Salzburg (Salzburg, 1981), pp. 179“262, is
written from a Catholic viewpoint. On the expulsions in the Gastein valley, the focus of
the present essay, see Gertraud Oberhummer, ˜Die Verfolgung und Auswanderung der
Gasteiner Protestanten unter Erzbischof Leopold Anton von Firmian™ (Ph.D. disserta-
tion, University of Innsbruck, 1950).

134 James Van Horn Melton

Blanning™s work: the enduring power of religion in what is conventionally
considered an age of Enlightenment.
The expulsions marked the culmination of recurrent efforts, conducted
over two centuries with varying degrees of intensity, to re-Catholicize the
territory™s sizeable remnants of Protestantism. These had survived in the
archbishopric™s remote Alpine districts to the south, mainly in the region
known as the Pongau. Efforts to reconvert them had been a notable fail-
ure, another reminder of the limits of what historians now call ˜confes-
sionalization™. A clandestine Protestant subculture, dating back to the
Reformation, had managed variously to resist and accommodate efforts
by the ecclesiastical government to establish confessional uniformity. Key
to the success of this strategy had been an ability to conform outwardly
with Catholic beliefs and practices, while at the same time preserving
integral elements of a Protestant identity.
Focusing on the Gasteinertal, the Alpine valley situated in the south-
ernmost part of the Pongau, this essay explores local confessional dynam-
ics that brought an end to this stalemate. It begins with an account of the
1730 Corpus Christi celebration in Hofgastein (the parish seat of the val-
ley), which epitomized the blend of accommodation and resistance that
had become the hallmark of Salzburg Protestantism on the eve of expul-
sion. The second part examines devotional techniques deployed by local
Catholic authorities, in alliance with Jesuit missionaries imported from
outside the territory, which served to construct or sharpen confessional
boundaries that two centuries of clandestine Protestantism had served to
blur. As the ¬nal section of the essay concludes, the result was a process
of confessional polarization that helped facilitate one of the largest and
most draconian religious expulsions in early modern Europe.

Sounds of music in Alpine Salzburg: Corpus Christi, 1730
On a June morning in 1730, parishioners in the Alpine market-village
of Hofgastein gathered for the mass preceding its annual Corpus Christi
procession.2 The celebrant was Thomas Wagner, the local parish priest,
with musical accompaniment provided by the village™s ten-member choir.
The leaders of the choir were two soloists, the peasant Michael Pich-
ler and the linen-weaver Bartholomeus Landraiter; the remaining eight
vocalists were mainly peasants and artisans. Most were long-standing
members: the weaver Landraiter and the sawyer Mattheus Huber had
sung for more than twenty years, while Landraiter™s son Georg, also a
2 Unless otherwise indicated, the account that follows is from local reports and interro-
gations (mostly by Hofgastein™s parish priest, Thomas Wagner) found in the Salzburger
Landesarchiv (henceforth SLA), Emigrationsakten, Karton 29, fos. 1“2, 141“58, 438“9,
Confessional power in Alpine Salzburg 135

weaver, and the peasant brothers Matthias and Wolfgang Leyerer, had
sung in the choir for about a decade. Choirs of this sort, which sources
from the period refer to as Kirchens¨ nger, appear to have become common
in areas of the Tyrol and Salzburg in the seventeenth century. Unlike later
parish choirs, which towards the end of the eighteenth century began to
take their repertoires from of¬cially sanctioned hymnals, Kirchens¨ nger
set simple liturgical texts to existing folk melodies. Like the Hofgastein
singers, these ˜folk choirs™ were exclusively male and composed of simple
laymen. In Catholic German-speaking regions of the eastern Alps, folk
choirs began to die out in the nineteenth century. A few survive today in
Alpine parishes of the Tyrol and South Tyrol, where Manfred Schneider,
an Innsbruck ethnomusicologist, conducted ¬eldwork in the late 1980s
and was able to collect hundreds of texts found in handwritten parish
The centrepiece of the choir™s performance that day was what appeared
to be a Catholic hymn known to parishioners as ˜Father High on Heaven™s
Throne™ (Vater Hoch im Himmels Throne). The choir performed it ¬rst as
a part of the mass™s penitential rite (Kyrie) and then in the Corpus Christi
procession that followed. The sources yield no detailed description of the
procession that day,4 but scattered pieces of archival evidence, illuminated
by studies of Corpus Christi processions elsewhere in German-speaking
Catholic Europe,5 give some idea of what it must have looked like.
The focal point would have been the Eucharistic host, borne by Father

3 See Manfred Schneider, ˜Musikethnologische Feldforschungen in Sudtirol™, Der Schlern
61 (1987), pp. 243“55. On folk choirs see also Hildegard Herrmann-Schneider, Musik
in Tirol. Grundz¨ ge ihrer Geschichte von der Zeit Kaiser Maximilians bis zum Ende der k. und
k. Monarchie (http:/www.musikland-tirol, 2002), ch. II, pt. 2.
4 Fortuitously, there exists a nineteenth-century depiction by Adolph von Menzel, ˜Corpus
Christi Procession in Bad Hofgastein, 1880™, which the painter undertook during a visit to
what was by then a fashionable Alpine spa. Narrating the procession™s progress as it made
its way into the Hofgastein churchyard, Menzel™s painting depicts a canopy-bedecked
clergy as the central link in a chain that joined banner-bearing members of local confra-
ternities in the front with rows of burghers to the rear. (What appear to be well-dressed
tourists in the foreground are otherwise engaged and seem not particularly interested “
perhaps a subtle but revealing accretion of late nineteenth-century Kulturkampf?)
5 Excellent studies of Corpus Christi processions in Austria and Germany include Ulrike
Aggermann-Bellenberg (Kammerhofer-Aggermann), ˜Die Grazer Fronleichnamsprozes-
sion von der Zeit ihrer Entstehung bis zu den Reformen des aufgekl¨ rten Abso- a
lutismus™ (Ph.D. dissertation, Institut fur Volkskunde, University of Graz, 1982), pp. 44“
5; Aggermann-Bellenberg ˜Quellenvergleich zu den Fronleichnamsprozession in den
St¨ dten Graz und Salzburg vor und nach der Reformationszeit. Die Rolle der Corporis-
Christi-Bruderschaften in der Fronleichnamsprozession™, in Helmut Eberhart et al., eds.,
Volksfr¨ mmigkeit. Referate der Osterreichischen Volkskundetagung 1989 in Graz (Vienna,
1990), pp. 267“84; Charles Zika, ˜Hosts, Processions, and Pilgrimages: Controlling the
Sacred in Fifteenth-Century Germany™, Past and Present 118 (1988), pp. 25“64; and on
the role of music, Alexander J. Fisher, Music and Religious Identity in Counter-Reformation
Augsburg, 1580“1630 (Aldershot, 2004), pp. 226“56.
136 James Van Horn Melton

Wagner under the shelter of a baldachin (or Himmel, the canopy custom-
arily used in solemn processions). Preceding Wagner and those carrying
the baldachin (perhaps the mayor and members of the village council)
were likely members of the local miners™ brotherhood, bearing banners
with the image of their patron St Barbara, and representatives of the Con-
fraternity of the Rosary (Rosenkranzbruderschaft), a Marian lay confrater-
nity promoted by Franciscan and Capuchin missionaries throughout the
Pongau and ¬rst introduced into Hofgastein in 1676.6 Filling out the
column would have been other parishioners, with the choir holding up
the rear (as later testimony attests) and repeating its rendition of ˜Father
High on Heaven™s Throne™.
Not everyone was pleased with the music that day, or at least not with
the choir. At some point following the procession, an anonymous infor-
mant related to Wagner that although the vocalists had sung the melody of
˜Father High on Heaven™s Throne™ properly, they had taken liberties with
the text. The original lyrics of the hymn, which I was able to identify with
some degree of certainty in Schneider™s collection of folk hymns,7 were
heavily Marian in ¬‚avour. Fifteen of sixteen verses contained references to
the Virgin, attesting efforts by Catholic clergy and missions in the region
to promote the veneration of Mary. The Hofgastein choir, however, had
replaced the Marian text of the hymn with an entirely different set of
stanzas. Pater Michael Zech, a Jesuit missionary in the Gastein valley,
cited some of the stanzas (with due horror and disgust) in a 1732 report

6 Account records from the valley™s mining brotherhood in 1709 refer to disbursements for
the purchase of banners portraying St Barbara, to be carried in that year™s Corpus Christi
procession. SLA, Bergoberamt, Gastein, Fasz. 37/2. The original charter of Hofgastein™s
Confraternity of the Rosary is located in the Konsistorialarchiv, Salzburg, 10/2: Pastoralia
Hofgastein (Bruderschaften), 21 September 1676, along with annual inventories of the
banners, staffs and other objects carried by members in local processions.
7 Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck, Volkslied-Archiv, Signatur 45h 8/10.
What I believe to have been the lyrics survive in a 1721 manuscript version from the
Tyrol and may have been of Jesuit origin, since a later handwritten copy indicates that
it was also published in a 1735 handbook of devotional exercises used by clergy con-
ducting popular missions in the Tyrol. I could not locate the handbook, which was en-
titled Christliche Andachts-Ubungen / zu Gebrauch der durch Ihro Kayserliche und K¨ nigliche
Majest¨ t mit Genehmigung Ihro P¨ pstlicher Heiligkeit im Land Tyrol eingef¨ hrten Heiligen
a a u
Mission cum Permisso Superiorum (Innsbruck, 1735). Other versions of the hymn can
be found in Innsbruck™s Volkslied-Archiv, but they appear to be of much later prove-
nance (e.g. Schmieden, c. 1850, Sig. IIIST/PS2, pp. 366ff.; Brixen, 1910, Sig. 51 b 5, 2;
Inntal, 1910, Sig. 45S 9/9; Geiselberg, 1927, Sig. III ST/GE 14, p. 49; Nasen, 1930, Sig.
IIIST/N2, p. 49; Reinswald, 1947, Sig. IIIST/R3, pp. 24ff.). In any case, we know from
the testimony of a Hofgastein choir member that Vater Hoch im Himmels Throne was one
of the ˜U. L. Frauen Gs¨ nge™, i.e. a Marian hymn. Konsistorialarchiv, Salzburg, Reforma-
tion Gastein, 11/71: Verhore, 1731 (interrogation of the peasant Georg Leyerer, 24 April
Confessional power in Alpine Salzburg 137

to the archbishop.8 Below are some of the offending stanzas, juxtaposed
alongside selections from the original Marian lyrics:
Original Hofgastein version
O Maria, chosen one He who knows the Truth
God was born of your body and remains steadfast to the end
O Virgin of virgins God too will stand by him
Who brings hope to all the world with his spirit and his angel.
Drive out all that is unholy Tyrant! How dare you make us ¬‚ee
Everlasting Lady and Mother. God will lead our cause.
Help us in the ¬nal battle Do not ¬‚inch from the tonsured mob
Mother of mercy, Mother of Christ Entrust your cause to our dear God
Full of Grace and honour, the purest of Let them drive us from our land
Whose chastity is pleasing unto God We shall praise and give thanks to God
Unstained, untouched, free of sin Christ shall guide us
Mother of all loveliness, eternal wonder. and lead us to another home.
Thou who heals sick children Should they cast us into prison
Thou who gives refuge to all sinners God will look down from heaven
Thou who consoles in sadness and say: you godless tyrant
Drive out all that is unholy You do violence to the apple of my eye
Help us in the ¬nal battle Because you rage and storm with sound
and fury
Everlasting Lady and Mother You shall repay me in the ¬res of Hell.

What was the source of the anti-Catholic lyrics that the Hofgastein choir
brazenly injected into the celebration of Corpus Christi, a day which the
Church had in the late fourteenth century elevated to the status of the
four major feasts of Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and the Assumption?
Members of the choir confessed under interrogation that they had taken
their text from a Protestant hymnal known to inhabitants of the valley
as ˜Das Sechzigerl™ (the Book of the Sixty, so named because it contained
sixty hymns). The particular hymn in question, known colloquially as the
˜Loinbacher™, had also been reprinted in what was by far the most popu-
lar clandestine devotional text in the Pongau, the ˜New Evangelical Mis-
sive™ (Neu-Evangelischer Sendbrief) of Joseph Schaitberger.9 Handwritten

8 Zech, ˜Miserabilis Gasteinensium Status in tertia missione detectus, et syncero descrip-
tque A. 1732, 3. December™, SLA, Emigrationsakten, Kart. 28a, fos. 159“60.
9 Joseph Schaitberger (1658“1733), a salt miner from the Salzburg village of Durrnberg,
had been expelled as a Protestant and emigrated to Nuremberg in 1686. Numerous edi-
tions of his missive, which exhorted Salzburg Protestants to remain true to their faith,
appeared after 1710 under the title Neu-vermehrter Send-Brief, darinnen vier und zwanzig
n¨ tzliche Buchlein enthalten. Geschrieben an die Landsleute in Salzburg und andere gute
Freunde, dadurch dieselbigen zur christlichen Best¨ ndigkeit, in der evangelischen Glaubens-
Lehr, Augspurgischen Confession, in ihrem Gewissen aufgemuntert werden. In Schaitberger™s
Neu-vermehrter Sendbrief the text of the ˜Loinbacher™ appears under the title, ˜Wir Chris-
ten hier im Jammertal™. Samuel Urlsperger, at that time Senior Pastor in Augsburg and a
138 James Van Horn Melton

copies of the hymn also seem to have circulated widely: in this particu-
lar case the weaver Landraiter, one of the choir™s two soloists, confessed
to having copied out stanzas of the hymn for the other singers. Some
members of the choir also admitted they had sung the ˜Loinbacher™ in
previous Corpus Christi masses and processions, and the investigation
revealed that the hymn had been sung in the valley™s two ¬lial churches
as well.10
According to August Hartmann, who discussed the origins of the
˜Loinbacher™ in his three-volume collection of historical German folk
songs, some of the verses may have been Anabaptist in origin with oth-
ers added later.11 He also speculated that ˜Loinbacher™ could have been
a corrupt version of Lambach, the Upper Austrian village where a 1626
uprising of Protestant peasants began. It is also possible that ˜Loinbacher™
referred originally to Martin Laimbauer, an Upper Austrian Protestant
peasant who in the 1630s claimed to possess prophetic powers. After the
Swedish army marched into Upper Austria and revived Protestant hopes
there, Laimbauer had roamed throughout the area preaching, singing and
exhorting Protestants in the territory to remain steadfast in their faith.
In 1636, when he led a peasant uprising in Upper Austria™s Muhlviertel
district, he was captured by the Habsburg authorities and beheaded in
Linz. According to Hartmann, the ˜Loinbacher™ may have been one of
his songs.12
However much the antics of the Hofgastein choir may have dismayed
local Catholic authorities, the Protestant appropriation of Catholic devo-
tional melodies had been common since the very onset of the Refor-
mation. The device is an example of what musicologists call contrafac-
tum, the practice in vocal music of substituting one set of lyrics for
another without any substantial change to the original melody.13 Most
popular songs in the medieval and early modern period were probably

leading champion of Salzburg Protestants, wrote that clandestine Protestants in Habs-
burg Carinthia were also familiar with the hymn. See his letter of 15 January 1732 in
George Fenwick Jones, ed., Henry Newman™s Salzburger Letterbooks (Athens, GA, 1966),
p. 291.
10 SLA, Emigrationsakten, Kart. 29, fos. 92, 544“5.
11 August Hartmann, Historische Volkslieder und Zeitgedichte vom sechzehnten bis neunzehnten
Jahrhundert (Munich, 1907“13), 2:263“7. The hymn also receives brief mention in Ger-
hard Walterskirchen, ˜Das protestantische Lied in Salzburg™, in Reformation. Emigration.
Protestanten in Salzburg. (Ausstellung 21. Mai “ 26. Oktober 1981. Schloss Goldegg. Pongau.
Land Salzburg) (Salzburg, 1981), p. 148.
12 On Laimbauer (his actual name was Aichinger but he commonly went by the name of
his farmstead) see Franz Wil¬‚ingseder, ˜Martin Laimbauer und die Unruhen im Mach-
landviertel 1632 bis 1636™, Mitteilungen des ober¨ sterreichischen Landesarchivs 6 (1959),
pp. 136“208.
13 Robert Falck and Martin Picker, ˜Contrafactum™, in The New Grove Dictionary of Music
and Musicians, ed. S. Sadie and J. Tyrrell (London, 2001), vol. VI, pp. 367“70; Robert
Confessional power in Alpine Salzburg 139

contrafacta, since the singers and balladeers who peddled copies of their
lyrics after performing them on the street or in taverns did not usually
create new melodies for their songs. In the early Reformation, Protes-
tant songwriters (including Luther) appropriated hundreds of Catholic
devotional melodies and replaced their texts with Protestant lyrics. As
Rebecca Wagner Oettinger pointed out in her recent study of popular
songs in the German Reformation, contrafacta enabled reformers to build
an imposing corpus of Protestant vocal music and were ideally suited for
the dissemination of confessional propaganda.14 For one, the adaptation
of Protestant texts to familiar popular melodies was a useful mnemonic
device enabling the reader or hearer to remember the text more easily
and hence absorb its confessional message. Protestant lyricists also used
contrafacta to purge traditional Catholic songs of elements they found
objectionable. Hans Sachs, for example, repeatedly appropriated tradi-
tional Catholic melodies whose themes had focused, say, on the Virgin,
and added new lyrics that displaced the pre-existing Marian language and
imagery in favour of a more Christ-centred text. Hence the traditional
Catholic song ˜Maria Zart™, ˜Sweet Mary™, became ˜Jesu Zart™, to cite just
one example.15
I would argue that for the Protestant singers in the Hofgastein choir,
contrafactum had a different meaning. By marching in the Corpus Christi
procession and participating in the mass, they accepted roles as liturgi-
cal actors in a Catholic performance. But within it they also staged a
counter-performance: by displacing the triumphal Marian imagery of
˜Father High on Heaven™s Throne™ with the de¬antly Protestant ˜Loin-
bacher™, they expressed their dissenting stance within the parish confes-
sional community. In this context, contrafactum mirrored the bifurcated
confessional conscience of a religious minority that over the centuries
had outwardly accommodated itself to an of¬cially dominant Catholi-
cism while at the same time carving out a sphere of opposition to it.
Protestants in Alpine Salzburg married each other and baptized their
children in the Catholic faith, attended mass (though like many of their
reliably Catholic neighbours, with varying degrees of regularity), took
communion, went on pilgrimages and marched in village processions.
But to an exceptional degree they had also managed to preserve integral

Falck, ˜Parody and Contrafactum: A Terminological Clari¬cation™, Musical Quarterly 65
(1979), pp. 1“21; Walther Lipphart, ˜Uber die Begriffe Kontrafakt, Parodie, Travestie™,
Jahrbuch f¨ r Liturgik und Hymnologie 12 (1967), pp. 104“11.
14 Rebecca Wagner Oettinger, Music as Propaganda in the German Reformation (Aldershot,
2001), p. 1. See also Fisher, Music and Religious Identity in Counter-Reformation Augsburg,
pp. 31“7.
15 Oettinger, Music as Propaganda, ch. 1.
140 James Van Horn Melton

elements of a Lutheran confessional identity. Ownership of Lutheran
devotional texts was widespread, ranging from sixteenth-century copies
of Luther™s Small Catechism to contemporary editions of Joseph Schait-
berger. They were concealed in the walls and roofs of their cottages and
outbuildings or buried under piles of ¬rewood, to be taken out on occa-
sion and read aloud at household devotions or at conventicles hosted by
friends and kinfolk. And as their reactions to a stepped-up, of¬cially sup-
ported programme of Marian piety shows (see below), they had absorbed
fundamental Lutheran beliefs on issues like justi¬cation, purgatory and
There was a logic to the choir™s choice of the Corpus Christi celebra-
tion as the stage for its contrafactual performance. The central symbol of
the celebration, the body of Christ, highlighted Catholic doctrines of the
Eucharist and af¬rmed a central tenet of the Catholic faith, transubstan-
tiation. The Corpus Christi procession was also a symbolic re-enactment
of the bonds of unity woven into the secular and ecclesiastical fabric of
a community. The canopy that sheltered the priest as the local represen-
tative of ecclesiastical authority was customarily born by town or village
leaders and evoked the unity of secular and sacred power.16 The partic-
ipation of lay confraternities, guild organizations and the town citizenry
also embodied, at least in principle, the community™s organic unity as a
secular and as a sacred body. Late medieval Salzburg sources expressed
this imagined unity in referring to the procession as a circuitus civitatis,
literally an encirclement of and by the town community. As such, the
ritual de¬ned and demarcated the social and spatial boundaries of the
local community.17
But Corpus Christi processions could also be divisive occasions, usu-
ally taking the form of wrangling over precedence that sometimes marred
the celebration.18 In a confessionally divided region like Gastein, religious
differences heightened the potential for con¬‚ict.19 In the later sixteenth
century, archbishops had corresponded regularly with the valley™s min-
ing of¬cials regarding the annual procession. In May of 1564 a letter

16 Zika, ˜Hosts, Processions, and Pilgrimages™, pp. 37“48.
17 Aggermann-Bellenberg, ˜Die Grazer Fronleichnamsprozession™, pp. 44“5; Aggermann-
Bellenberg, ˜Quellenvergleich zu den Fronleichnamsprozession in den St¨ dten Graz und
Salzburg™, pp. 267“84.
18 See for example the detailed account of struggles over precedence in the Austrian town
of Graz during Corpus Christi processions in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth
centuries, in Aggermann-Bellenberg, ˜Die Grazer Fronleichnamsprozession™, pp. 234ff.
See also Zika, ˜Hosts, Processions, and Pilgrimages™, pp. 40“1.
19 Compare the example of bi-confessional Augsburg, where Corpus Christi processions
could also be occasions for tension and con¬‚ict: Fisher, Music and Religious Identity in
Counter-Reformation Augsburg, pp. 61“3.
Confessional power in Alpine Salzburg 141

from Archbishop Johann Jakob von Kuen-Belasy to the valley™s mining
magistrate (Bergrichter) expressed grave concern about the participation
of the local miners™ brotherhood in the procession that year. Gastein™s
miners had been the backbone of Protestantism in the valley ever since
Salzburg™s Peasants™ War of 1525, in which they had played a vanguard
role, and unrest erupted again in 1564 when Protestant miners and peas-
ants in the valley demanded the right to receive both elements of the
Eucharist.20 The archbishop™s 1564 letter alluded to ˜seductive preach-
ers [who] have been smuggled in and out of Gastein, mostly by miners
who have since been dismissed™. The archbishop was doubtless alarmed
about the potential for violence in a procession focused on the Eucharist,
since Catholic interpretations of the sacrament were precisely what rebel-
lious Protestants in the valley were contesting in demanding the chalice.
Accordingly, he solicited information about any arms the miners might
carry and enjoined of¬cials to ensure that the procession take place with
proper ˜discipline and modesty™.21 The 1730 performance of the Hof-
gastein choir showed that the Corpus Christi procession had remained
a confessionally fraught occasion. The choir™s contrafactual inversion of
the ceremony placed in question the unity of creed and community that
the procession otherwise sought to enact, and testi¬ed to the sharpen-
ing of confessional divisions that were building in the wake of intensi¬ed
A closer look at the spatial dimensions of the choir™s performance sug-
gests another kind of logic at play. How had the choir hoped to colo-
nize the liturgical space of the Corpus Christi celebration without being
detected? Father Wagner recalled that during the mass, choir members
were seated towards the rear of the church and hence behind the other
parishioners. In other words, the rows of parishioners to the front shielded
the choir acoustically from the priest at the altar. Similarly, noted the
priest, the heretical lyrics had escaped his notice during the procession
as well, since the choir had marched at the rear of the procession behind

20 See Karl-Heinz Ludwig, ˜Miners, Pastors and the Peasant War in Austria 1524“26™, in
Janos Bak and Gerhard Benecke, eds., Religion and Rural Revolt (Manchester, 1984),
pp. 156ff.; Ludwig, ˜Bergleute im Bauernkrieg™, Zeitschrift f¨ r historische Forschung 5
(1978), pp. 23“47.
21 SLA, Bestand Museum Carolino Augusteum, Nr 442. Just how confessionally con-
tested the procession had become after the Reformation is seen in the case of Graz,
the provincial capital of Habsburg Styria, which remained formally under the ecclesi-
astical jurisdiction of the Salzburg archbishop until the reforms of Joseph II. By the
mid-sixteenth century the population of Graz had become overwhelmingly Protestant,
and no Corpus Christi processions took place between 1552 and 1572. Only after the
Habsburg archduke imported Jesuits into the city in 1572 did the annual procession
resume. See Aggermann-Bellenberg, ˜Die Grazer Fronleichnamsprozession™, pp. 126ff.
142 James Van Horn Melton

other parishioners. Hence the distance between the choir and Wagner
again prevented him from discerning the lyrics, which the university-
educated priest noted were in any case sung in a rustic local dialect that
was dif¬cult to understand. As in the mass, the lyrics of the ˜Loinbacher™
would have been audible to parishioners but not to Wagner, a con¬gura-
tion that allowed the choir to make its presence known to the lay public
but evade detection by their priest.
The way in which the choir appropriated the ceremonial space of Cor-
pus Christi “ acoustically as well as spatially “ suggests a process simul-
taneously clandestine and open, one in which the choir concealed its
heterodoxy from clerical authority while appealing directly to the lay
public of the parish.22 There is reason to believe that the appeal met
with at least some sympathy, though obviously not from the informant
who denounced the choir to the priest (˜per privatam denunciation™, to
use Wagner™s phrase).23 One member of the choir, the weaver Landraiter,
admitted that their performance had sparked peals of laughter during the
procession.24 Even among the village™s reliably Catholic parishioners,
there is evidence that the choir™s protest against escalating persecution
might have elicited at least some sympathy. Catholics and Protestants
had co-existed in the valley for two centuries, and the reams of interroga-
tions conducted in Alpine Salzburg before and after the expulsion make
clear that confessional membership cut across kinship networks. Mixed
marriages were not uncommon, and children of such unions might well
receive religious instruction in both faiths. In such households, attempts
to impose confessional uniformity must have sparked considerable
Economic interests also came into play. According to the report of
December 1732 by the Jesuit Michael Zech, Hofgastein™s Catholic shop-
keepers and artisans considered the expulsion edict bad for business and
a threat to their economic livelihoods. Two months later, in fact, the
village mayor of Hofgastein, a Catholic innkeeper by the name of Hans
Pichler, submitted a petition to the archbishop protesting the harsh treat-
ment accorded suspected Protestants during interrogations by Wagner
and his Jesuit associates. According to Pichler, who claimed to speak
for the Hofgastein community, Jesuit interrogators boasted to those they
interrogated that ˜they haven™t come to instruct but to condemn them to

22 On the struggle for confessional space in a bi-confessional environment, cf. Duane Cor-
pis, ˜Mapping the Boundaries of Confession: Space and Urban Religious Life in the
Diocese of Augsburg, 1648“1750™, in Will Coster and Andrew Spicer, eds., Sacred Space
in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 2005), pp. 302“25.
23 SLA, Emigrationsakten, Kart. 29a, fos. 1“2 (1 July 1733).
24 Konsistorialarchiv, Salzburg, Reformation Gastein, 11/71: Verhore, 1731 (6 April 1731).
Confessional power in Alpine Salzburg 143

the depths of Hell™.25 The petition requested the replacement of Wagner
with a kinder and gentler priest, and asked that the Jesuits be sent home
and Capuchin or Franciscan missionaries be sent in their stead. When
the petition remained unanswered, a second was sent. For his efforts the
mayor was ultimately rewarded with eight days of bread and water in
the local jail,26 but the incident shows that at least some Catholics in
the village might have been receptive to the choir™s earlier protest.

Signifying confessional identity: Jesuit missions and
Marian devotion
Despite the harsh reputation he later acquired, Father Wagner™s initial
response to the choir™s performance had been relatively mild. He reported
the incident to his clerical supervisor, the deacon of Werfen, who visited
Hofgastein and interrogated choir members in the presence of Wagner
and the valley™s secular judicial of¬cer (Landrichter). The choir was dis-
banded and its members were required to pray the rosary, aloud and
in unison, after every Sunday mass. Wagner had worked in the parish
for less than two years, which perhaps accounts for his relative leniency.
Outright expulsion for evidence of Protestant beliefs had in any case been
relatively rare in Salzburg™s Alpine regions, at least since Archbishop Max
Gandolf ™s expulsion of over 600 peasants from the Deferegger valley in
1684“5 and some seventy Durrnberg miners and their families in 1686.27
Economic motives partly explains this restraint: Salzburg™s archbishops,
loathe to jeopardize their income from Durrnberg™s salt mines and the
gold and silver mines of Gastein and Rauris, chose throughout much of
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to refrain from harsh persecu-
tions. Repression did in fact intensify in the opening decades of the eigh-
teenth century, but up to 1731 persecution had chie¬‚y taken the form of
house visitations and public book-burnings aimed at stemming the ¬‚ow of
contraband devotional literature into the region. According to the Jesuit
Zech, Hofgastein™s parish priest had staged elaborate book-burnings in
1716 and 1720 ˜publicly in solemn rituals witnessed by the whole val-
ley™, and some 500 additional Protestant books had been burned since
Wagner™s installation as priest in 1728.28 But those found in possession

25 SLA, Emigrationsakten, Kart. 29a, fos. 611“12 (25 February 1733).
26 SLA, Emigrationsakten, Kart. 29a, fos. 617 (12 August 1733).
27 See Ortner, Reformation, katholische Reform und Gegenreformation im Erzstift Salzburg,
pp. 179ff.
28 ˜Compendium Relationis de Missione Gastunensi 1733™, in SLA, Emigrationsakten,
Kart. 29a, fo. 630; ˜Miserabilis Gasteinsium Status™, fo. 159. The parish records of
Hofgastein also refer to book-burnings “ Pfarrarchiv Hofgastein, Glaubenssachen, 25
July 1712, 7 November 1723.
144 James Van Horn Melton

of contraband books had rarely been expelled, and punishment usually
took the form of ¬nes or brief jail terms. Indeed, in Gastein I have found
only one case of outright expulsion between 1615, when 233 suspected
Protestants were driven from the valley, and the accession of Firmian in
But a year after the Hofgastein choir received its slap on the hand
from Wagner, such leniency was rapidly becoming a thing of the past. A
major turning point was the arrival of Jesuit missionaries elsewhere in the
Pongau in 1730, followed by missions conducted in the Gastein valley
beginning in early 1732. Zech launched his ¬rst Gastein mission in March
of 1732 and set about exposing clandestine Protestants with astounding
energy and zeal. He and his younger associate Michael Bauer approached
their work like skilled ethnographers, visiting households and soliciting in
hundreds of interviews details about the backgrounds, beliefs and devo-
tional practices of the natives.30 For the historian today this ¬eldwork
makes fascinating reading; for more stubbornly Protestant mountain folk
who now found their confessional consciences subjected to painstak-
ing scrutiny, the Jesuit intruders were nothing short of Antichrist. Hans
Mossegger, a Protestant ringleader and lay preacher from the Wagrain
district who was later imprisoned and expelled, described the intrusive
presence of the Jesuits in a sermon he preached to a clandestine gather-
ing in 1731: ˜No household, no bedroom, no barn or stall, no straw hut
or pasture shack, no basement, no cave, is safe from their spying. Like
wolves and assassins, the Jesuit fathers creep into your houses and poke
into every corner, questioning children and farmhands. If you say a word
you are lost.™31
Frightened by their Jesuit nemeses but heartened by rumours that the
archbishop, in response to pressure from the emperor and the Protestant

29 Ruepp Junger, a miner and Protestant agitator who for several years preached to clan-
destine conventicles in miners™ hostels, farmhouses and taverns throughout the val-
ley, was ¬nally expelled in 1724 after several arrests for possessing and distributing
Protestant books. Pfarrarchiv Hofgastein, Glaubenssachen, 1723“5; Konsistorialarchiv,
Salzburg, Reformationsakten 11/71 (Gastein), which contains ¬les on the investigation
into Junger™s activities.
30 The ethnographic dimensions of early modern inquisitorial practices are discussed in
Carlo Ginzburg, ˜The Inquisitor as Anthropologist™, in Ginzburg, Clues, Myths and the
Historical Method (Baltimore, 1989), pp. 156“64. On the limits of inquisition records as
ethnographical evidence, see Renato Rosaldo™s polemical essay, ˜From the Door of His
Tent: The Fieldworker and the Inquisitor™, in James Clifford and George W. Marcus,
eds., Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography (Berkeley and Los Angeles,
1986), pp. 77“97.
31 Mossegger™s sermon is published in Gerhard Florey, ˜Predigt eines Salzburger
Pr¨ dikanten aus dem Jahre 1731™, Jahrbuch f¨ r die Geschichte des Protestantismus in
a u
Osterreich 97 (1981), pp. 133“46, here p. 142.
Confessional power in Alpine Salzburg 145

Estates, planned to change course and grant religious toleration, Protes-
tant ringleaders had drafted a petition in June of 1731 that purported
to represent the wishes of 19,000 Protestant men and women from the
seven districts of the Pongau. The petition, which was delivered to Cor-
pus Evangelicorum (the caucus of Protestant Estates represented in the
imperial diet) in Regensburg, requested that the body intervene with
the archbishop to allow each of the Pongau™s districts to have its own
Protestant pastor. This set in motion the chain of events that led the arch-
bishop, believing he had a major uprising on his hands, to issue his decree
(31 October 1731) requiring all Protestants to leave the territory within
a stipulated period.32
For all the brutal simplicity of Firmian™s Emigrationspatent, carrying
out the expulsions proved anything but simple. Aside from the logisti-
cal problems involved in executing the decree, the task of identifying the
thousands of Protestants to be expelled was daunting in a region where so
many were practised in the art of dissimulation. Some resigned themselves
to emigration early on and openly declared themselves Lutheran. But
others, relying on habits of camou¬‚age honed by generations of crypto-
Protestants, still tried to pass as Catholics in the hope of avoiding expul-
sion. Recurring rumours of a Prussian invasion encouraged some to play
for time, concealing their beliefs in the hope that military intervention
would force the archbishop to abrogate the expulsion. Nor should one
overestimate the extent to which confessional identities were ¬xed and sta-
ble in a mountainous and in places inaccessible region like the Pongau.
Interrogators found that some of their subjects had no religious train-
ing and lacked even a basic understanding of the faith. Others, whether
out of confusion or opportunism, migrated elastically between Protestant
and Catholic identities. Thus Georg Holl, an eighty-year-old peasant in
the Werfen district, confessed he had switched confessional loyalties sev-
eral times, while the Goldegg peasant Magdalena Portenkirchner said
her stepmother had advised her that ˜if the Catholics win she should be
Catholic, but if the Lutherans win, then she should be Lutheran™.33
The petition claiming to represent 19,000 self-declared Lutherans
was of no help to investigators seeking to identify those to be expelled.

32 The edict originally required the families of domiciled peasants and tradesmen to leave
within three months, while non-domiciled farmhands and day labourers were given only
a week. The draconian provisions were subsequently revised for the members of the
former category, who were given until St Georgi (23 April 1732) to emigrate. For a
discussion of the patent and the events leading up to it see Walker, Salzburg Transaction,
ch. 1.
33 SLA, Emigrationsakten, Kart. 13 (15 October 1732), fo. 120; Kart. 17b (14 October
1733), fo. 667.
146 James Van Horn Melton

Although some Protestant accounts have assumed that a list of 19,000
signatories accompanied the petition, no such list has ever surfaced and
the petition never in fact claimed to have one; the presenters of the peti-
tion simply claimed to be representatives of the allegedly 19,000 victims
of persecution.34 More useful as a guide for expulsion was the list of more
than 20,000 alleged Protestants collected in July of 1731 by the territorial
commission that Firmian had dispatched to the Pongau to investigate the
growing unrest. Yet even this document was not an infallible criterion,
since many of those whose names had appeared on the list subsequently
came forward and requested to be certi¬ed as good Catholics.35 Some
were contrite and claimed to have recognized the error of their ways,
while others, pleading ignorance, insisted they had unwittingly declared
themselves Protestant out of ignorance and had not known that ˜evangel-
ical™ meant Lutheran. Still others protested that Protestant neighbours
or employers had pressured them into declaring themselves Protestant
before the commission, or had registered them as such in their absence
and without their permission.
No doubt some who had been registered as Protestant but later
declared themselves Catholic were feigning innocence or contrition to
evade punishment “ this at least was the working assumption of interroga-
tors like Zech, who wrote that ˜a large number of those who had earlier
identi¬ed themselves as non-Catholics later asked to be removed from the
list, either because they now saw the likely consequences of their actions
or because others had secretly persuaded them to do so™.36 But even Zech,
for all his hardened scepticism, felt compelled to review those cases before
recommending ¬nal expulsion. Chicanery no doubt occurred, since some
Protestant activists apparently believed a high turnout of non-Catholics
would sway the archbishop to allow freedom of worship. These more pas-
sionately committed Protestants thus had every interest in swelling the
number of those listed as Lutherans, even if it meant declaring others
as Protestant in their absence or threatening retaliation against neigh-
bours or farmhands who registered as Catholic.37 Here it is important to
balance conventional depictions of Salzburg Protestants as tragic-heroic

34 Here I follow Walker, Salzburg Transaction, pp. 46“52, who makes this point persuasively.
35 In September and October of 1731, for example, 440 inhabitants of the Radstadt district
requested that their names be struck from the list. SLA, Emigrationsakten, Kartons 37a
and 37b.
36 ˜Miserabilis Gasteinsium Status™, fo. 161.
37 Allusions to such pressures can be found for example in SLA, Kart. 37a, fo. 15
(9 September 1731), fo. 12 (28 September 1731); Kart. 62, fo. 542 (21 April 1733),
fo. 560 (5 June 1733).
Confessional power in Alpine Salzburg 147

victims of Catholic fanaticism with an acknowledgement that threats and
coercion were employed on both sides.
Faced with the dif¬cult task of penetrating confessional consciences
that were often opaque or indeterminate, Catholic investigators in the
Pongau employed strategies of exposure designed to identify if not con-
struct boundaries of belief. They relied above all on Marian devotional
symbols and practices, pre-eminently in the sensory realms of sight and
sound, which had the effect of sharpening confessional boundaries hith-
erto blurred or porous. Aimed at eliciting visible or audible evidence of
Catholic identity, these strategies sought to identify those loyal to the faith
and expose others who hid their heresy under a cloak of simulated confor-
mity. Two Marian-centred devotions promoted by Catholic missionaries
in the region “ the wearing of scapulary amulets and the audible recita-
tion of the rosary “ illustrate how these strategies could be deployed to
demarcate confessional identity and thereby create criteria for conformity
and heterodoxy.
The origins of the Confraternity of the Scapulary, a Counter-
Reformation brotherhood named after the priestly garment worn over
the neck and shoulders, date back to the thirteenth century. According
to a pious tradition the Blessed Virgin appeared to St Simon Stock, Gen-
eral of the Carmelite Order, at Cambridge in 1215. She bore in her hand
a scapulary, the symbol of the Carmelites, and promised that anyone who
died wearing it would not suffer everlasting ¬re. The sodality™s sixteenth-
century charter promised that members wearing a scapulary amulet at
their deaths would receive a full remission of sin and hence escape the tri-
als of purgatory.38 The cult of the scapulary consciously identi¬ed it with
Catholic doctrines of purgatory, as for example in woodcuts and medal-
lions depicting the Virgin using the garment to retrieve fallen sinners from
the ¬res of purgatory.
The introduction of the confraternity into Salzburg in 1630 was part of
a broader revival of lay brotherhoods that began in the early seventeenth
century and reached its zenith around 1730. Confraternities had existed
in the territory since the thirteenth century, but declined in the wake of
the Reformation. In 1613“14, after a general visitation underscored the
poor state of pastoral care, Archbishop Markus Sittikus began promoting
confraternities as a vehicle of confessional revival. The Confraternity of

38 R. Copsey, ˜Simon Stock and the Scapular Vision™, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 50
(1999); Rupert Klieber, Bruderschaften und Liebesb¨ nde nach Trient. Ihr Totendienst, Zus-
pruch, und Stellenwert im kirchlichen und gesellschaftlichen Leben am Beispiel Salzburg 1600“
1950 (Frankfurt am Main, 1999), p. 315.
148 James Van Horn Melton

the Scapulary was just one of dozens chartered in Salzburg in the ensuing
decades, but it was to become the largest in terms of membership. In the
1680s alone the Confraternity recruited more than 10,000 members in
the archbishopric.39 Men, women, even infants could join: one-year-old
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was initiated in 1757.
Ostensibly the brotherhood resembled medieval confraternities in
tending to the burial of members and the recitation of prayers for departed
brethren. But similar to what Rebekka Habermas observed of Upper
Bavarian brotherhoods after 1700,40 the activities of the Scapulary broth-
erhood and other late Counter-Reformation confraternities in Salzburg
especially emphasized participation in the processions and pilgrimages
that were such an integral part of south-German and Austrian Catholic
piety. Like other post-Tridentine brotherhoods venerating the Virgin, the
Confraternity of the Scapulary provided a visual, Marian adornment of
the sacred landscape. In processions members carried banners bearing
images of Mary41 and were otherwise encouraged to wear their scapulary
badges (normally two patches of wool connected with a loop of cord and
worn over the shoulders) not just on formal religious occasions but also at
home, in the tavern, or while working in their ¬elds, pastures and shops.
The brotherhood arrived belatedly in the Protestant-ridden Pongau.
There the ¬rst chapter was not founded until 1702, in the village of
Bischofshofen, and Hofgastein did not have one until 1731.42 On the
eve of expulsion the Church aggressively promoted membership as a
confessional tool, and wearing a scapulary badge became all but com-
pulsory in confessionally suspect areas like the Pongau.43 Clandestine
Protestants appear to have loathed the patches they were pressured to
wear around their necks. Not only did they consider them idolatrous,
linked as they were to the veneration of Mary, the scapulary™s association

39 Klieber, Bruderschaften und Liebesb¨ nde, pp. 572“4; Christian Greinz, Das sociale Wirken
der katholischen Kirche in der Erzdi¨ zese Salzburg (Vienna, 1898), pp. 74“6.
40 Rebekka Habermas, Wallfahrt und Aufruhr. Zur Geschichte der Wallfahrt in der fr¨ henu
Neuzeit (Frankfurt am Main, 1991), pp. 94“5. On processions in Catholic German-
speaking Europe during this period see also Marc C. Forster, Catholic Revival in the Age
of the Baroque: Religious Identity in Southwest Germany, 1550“1750 (Cambridge, 2001),
pp. 16“22.
41 See the description of scapulary processions in the Salzburg village of Kuchl in Rupert
Struber, ˜Die Bruderschaften der Pfarre Kuchl im Lichte archivalischer Quellen vom
17. bis 19. Jahrhundert™ (Master™s thesis, University of Salzburg, 1997), pp. 79“80.
42 Klieber, Bruderschaften und Liebesb¨ nde, pp. 321, 560“1. The charter of the Hofgastein
brotherhood is found in the Konsistorialarchiv, Salzburg, 10/2: Pastoralia Hofgastein
(Bruderschaften), 20 July 1731.
43 Cf. the consistorial provisions for the districts of Werfen (1730) and Wagrain (1732), in
SLA, P¬‚eggericht Werfen 1, 1675“1775, 1730: fo. 126; Emigrationsakten, Kart. 35a,
fos. 17“20 (20 February 1732).
Confessional power in Alpine Salzburg 149

with Catholic doctrines of purgatory and indulgences ¬‚ew in the face
of Lutheran notions of justi¬cation. They bridled at a campaign crafted
to elicit visible compliance with precisely those facets of Catholic piety
they found most repugnant. The more de¬ant sought to desacralize the
scapulary with scatological language. Christina Egger, a distiller™s wife in
Hofgastein, was arrested after an informer heard her joke that ˜I wouldn™t
wipe my arse with a scapulary,™ while Christina Rossbacher, a peasant
widow in the St Johann district, was interrogated for reputedly having
said ˜I shit on the scapulary.™44
But the promotion of the scapulary by Catholic missionaries was effec-
tive precisely because of its polarizing effect. Clandestine Protestants who
up to then had been able to comply publicly with Catholic beliefs and
practices found it harder to do so without jeopardizing the hidden side
of their confessional identity. For that very reason, Catholic missionaries
came to consider public display of the scapulary a useful litmus test for
distinguishing true Catholics from false ones. In the salt-mining village
of Durrnberg, the Lutheran enclave where seventy Protestants had been
expelled in 1686, the parish priest favoured requiring all miners to wear
scapulary badges as a way of exposing secret Protestants. Such a mea-
sure, he wrote in 1733, was ˜guaranteed to identify those who are good
Catholics and expose those who are not™, since Protestants ˜abhor noth-
ing more than the Holy Scapulary™.45 Two secular clergy, after informing
the consistory that they had recruited 149 members into the brotherhood
during a catechistic mission to the Liechtenberg district in May of 1732,
wrote that parishioners should be enjoined to wear the badge because
it was ˜an especially good symbol that distinguishes a Catholic from a
non-Catholic™.46 Two missionary priests sent to investigate heresy in the
Mittersill district in the autumn of 1732 concluded that the area was
solidly Catholic because almost everyone they encountered wore scapu-
lary badges.47
The rosary, a series of meditations on the lives of Christ and the Virgin
Mary, was of course a key aspect of Marian piety in Counter-Reformation
Europe.48 Reciting the rosary included repeatedly praying the Ave Maria,

44 SLA, Emigrationsakten, Kart. 29a, fo. 289; Kart. 22a, fo. 260.
45 SLA, Emigrationsakten, Kart. 1a, fo. 253 (15 April 1733).
46 SLA, Emigrationsakten, Kart. 62, fo. 7 (26 May 1732).
47 SLA, Emigrationsakten, Kart. 59a, fo. 76 (4 November 1732). Cf. Etienne Fran¸ ois, c
Die unsichtbare Grenze. Protestanten und Katholiken in Augsburg 1648“1806 (Sigmaringen,
1991), p. 183, on scapulary amulets as an index of Catholic identity in early modern
48 Louis Chˆ tellier, The Europe of the Devout: The Catholic Reformation and the Formation of
a New Society (Cambridge, 1987), pp. 8“11, 53“6; R. Po-chia Hsia, The World of Catholic
Renewal 1550“1770 (Cambridge, 1998), p. 202.
150 James Van Horn Melton

which along with the Our Father was at that time one of the devotion™s
two constituent prayers (the Creed was also recited in some regions).
A 1741 psalter published in Salzburg and authorized by the consistory
prescribed a cycle of three rosaries, each a meditation on the sufferings
of Mary at various stages of the Passion and each involving the recitation
of ¬fty Ave Marias and ¬fteen Our Fathers.49 The accompanying prayers
to the Virgin acknowledged her Immaculate Conception, her status as
Mother of God, and her ef¬cacy as friend, protector and intercessor.
Rosary devotion in Catholic Europe dated back to the fourteenth cen-
tury, but in the Counter Reformation it acquired special signi¬cance
as a catechetical instrument for use in confessionally contested areas.
Catering to the unlearned and promoted by the Jesuits and other Tri-
dentine orders, the rosary was what one English scholar has called ˜the
simple man™s catechism, his prayer book and his own pr´ cis of the New
Testament™. It reaf¬rmed the Virgin™s intercessional role in the face of
Protestant ridicule, and the remission of sins variously earned in recit-
ing it repudiated Protestant teachings on justi¬cation and purgatory. As
Anne Dillon noted in a study of rosary sodalities in English Catholic
communities of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, rosary devo-
tion also appealed to missionaries because it provided a form of cat-
echesis for communities lacking priests. The rosary could be recited
anywhere, during mass but also as part of one™s private household devo-
tions. Rosary devotion offered a doctrinal structure and a kind of sub-
stitute liturgy for those deprived of regular access to mass and the


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