During the existence of the Second Mexican Empire (1864–67), Emperor Maximilian of Austria had to face the hostility of the United States and the indifference of the Austrian Empire, having to rely for its survival on the military, financial, and diplomatic support of France. This article does not question these general premises but seeks to problematize them, taking into account the activities of the Mexican Empire within the United States territory and the discreet support of Austrian diplomacy to them. To this end, the focus of the article will be the activities of Maximilian's main representative in the United States, Luís de Arroyo, and especially those of the Austrian consul general in New York, Charles Frederick de Loosey.
The decade of 1860 must be reckoned as one of the most turbulent of the nineteenth century, foreshadowing the problems of imperialism, revolution, and the construction of nation-states that would become striking in the years to come. In Europe we have the formation of the German and Italian nation-states, together with the Paris Commune, and the countless wars that involved France, Austria, and Prussia. In the Americas, in particular, it was a period of wars and conflicts, including the American Civil War (1861–65) and the War of the Triple Alliance between Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay (1864–70). It was also a moment in which imperial models were remodeled, with the formation of the Dominion of Canada (1867), added to which are the numerous European interventions—French, Spanish, and British—in Latin America, among these the most important case being the creation of the Second Mexican Empire (1864–67).
While these conflicts have often been studied as separate realities, especially in national histories, today there is a growing historiographical effort to connect them. The main purpose is to understand not only the larger context that explain the turbulences of the decade, but also the contacts and connections between Europe and the Americas.1 This article is intended as a contribution to this effort, as well as to the more specific topic of the relations among the governments that held power in Vienna, Washington, and Mexico City.
Archduke Maximilian took the Mexican throne in 1864 under the protection of French troops and at the invitation of a part of the Mexican elite that considered the restoration of the monarchy the best outcome for the defense of its interests and for the political stability of Mexico. For three years, in a bloody civil war with Mexican president Benito Juárez, he struggled to control Mexican territory. In 1867, after the withdrawal of French troops and the growing hostility of Mexicans to his government, Maximilian was shot by the forces of Juárez, who was to remain president of the Mexican Republic until 1872.2
It is known that the US government was hostile to the presence of French troops in Mexico and to Maximilian's empire, not least because such presence was related to the risks of a potential Franco-British support for the Confederates.3 Indeed, the Confederate government considered the possibility of strengthening its ties with the Mexican Empire, precisely to create a greater bond with the French.4 Before the end of the Civil War, this American opposition to Maximilian was limited, especially compared to after 1865, when it became diplomatically and militarily stronger. During this latter period, the American government started to send war material to Benito Juárez and to apply strong diplomatic and military pressure on France to withdraw its troops from Mexican territory.
In the case of the Austrian Empire, Emperor Franz Joseph had grudgingly come to terms with the fact that his brother accepted the Mexican crown, even though the Austrian government did not believe in the viability of the Mexican Empire. In addition, the Austrian Empire did not want to be directly involved in North American issues, and it was partly for this reason that Austria remained neutral during the US Civil War.5 At most, the Austrian government allowed the recruitment of volunteers to support the government of Maximilian, but still only if and when such an initiative did not cause problems in the relationship with the American government.
It seems, therefore, that the situation is clear: Franz Joseph gave no support to his brother in Mexico, while the US administration of the period did not maintain any contact with the Mexican Empire, remaining hostile to it. The Mexican Empire had to rely for its survival essentially on the support of the French and, when that support disappeared, its future was doomed.
Such conclusions are correct in general terms, but a closer examination of the topic indicates that the relations among Austrians, Mexicans, French, and Americans regarding the government of Maximilian were more dynamic than it seems at first glance. This was especially true within the US territory, through the actions of informal representatives like Charles F. de Loosey and Luís de Arroyo. The purpose of this article is to problematize these issues and shed new light on the relationship among Austria, Mexico, and the United States. More broadly, it seeks to illuminate the character and type of contacts between Europe and Americas in one of the most troubled periods of the long nineteenth century.
The main sources for this article are the personal papers of Charles Frederick de Loosey, housed in the New York Historical Society: thirty-one volumes of letters, leaflets, newspaper clippings, maps and other printed documents, as well as the documents from the Mexican imperial consulates in New Orleans and New York City, kept by Loosey after their closure in 1867. Some collections in Austria have been researched as well.6
To be sure, other primary sources could be mobilized to broaden an understanding of this issue. At Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv, in Vienna, for example, there are two decades of dispatches from Loosey to the Austrian Empire's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which I have not been able to examine in detail but that could provide useful insight on his activities as Austrian representative in the United States. Meanwhile, at the University of Texas, there are the personal papers of one of Maximilian's agents in the United States and holder, Mariano Degollado (1834–1923, who for some time served as the empire's consulate in New York City.7 These, too, might be useful. In short, the research work I developed here could and should certainly be expanded from more sources and documents.
Nevertheless, the documentation accumulated by Loosey, and available in New York, together with the addition of other documents consulted in Vienna, is more than sufficient for my discussion here, which proposes to illuminate the relations among the United States, Austria, and Mexico governments and to highlight Mexican and Austrian activities within American territory in the period between 1864 and 1867.
The Protagonists: Charles F. de Loosey and Luís de Arroyo
The key figures to understand the relationship between the United States and the Second Mexican Empire were, without a doubt, Charles Frederick de Loosey and Luís de Arroyo. It is, therefore, essential to reconstruct, as much as possible, their biographies.
Carl Friedrich von Loosey (or Charles Frederick de Loosey) was born on January 16, 1814, in Vienna and died on July 21, 1870, at the age of fifty-six, in New York, where he was buried. There is not much information about his family, but his background was in engineering. He studied at the Vienna Polytechnic and lived for a few years in London in the 1840s, where he patented some innovations in the area of steam engines.8
Loosey probably had good relations at Vienna's court, so much so that, as will be seen later, he would have been a personal friend of Maximilian and other members of the nobility. Furthermore, it was probably because of these relationships that he entered the diplomatic service, for which he worked only in the United States. He arrived in the country in 1849, when he became part of the Austrian consulate staff in New York, being named consul in 1852 and consul general in 1856. In 1859 he brought his nephew Hugo Fritsch from Trieste to assist him in the consular service, appointing him consular secretary. Loosey became a knight (Ritter) in 1868, after receiving the Kaiserlicher Orden der Eisernen Krone award, in third class, a trajectory of ennoblement typical of the bourgeoisie, which seems to indicate, along with his educational (technical) background, his social origin.
He was very active in promoting economic exchange between Austria and the United States, publishing several books on trade law, patents and other economic topics in both New York City and Vienna.9 He was also in charge of several commercial and industrial enterprises, including a sugar mill in the United States and the tobacco trade with Cuba and Puerto Rico. He also an active participant in all efforts to create a shipping line between New York and Trieste, albeit without success.10
Very well connected during his twenty-one years in New York, Loosey was a member of several charity associations, such as a children's hospital on 51st Avenue, and he participated in the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institute, establishing scientific collaborations with institutions in Vienna. With his wife, Ida von Raunthal de Loosey (1820–57), Loosey fathered several children, who subsequently married prominent members of the American bourgeoisie, especially in New York, such as the Havemeyers, of German origin. One of his sons-in-law, Theodore Augustus Havemeyer, succeeded him as the Austro-Hungarian (honorary) consul general in New York City until 1895. It was Henry Osborne Havemeyer Jr. (1876–1965), his grandson, who donated his grandfather's papers to the New York Historical Society.
Loosey never left his post in New York. The Austrian consulate in this city was the first Austrian diplomatic representation in the United States, having been opened in 1820, eighteen years before the creation of the legation in Washington. The importance of the consulate in New York is evidenced by the fact that, though as was customary in the imperial consular service, most of Austrian and later Austro-Hungarian consulates in the country were honorary—that is, commanded by volunteer staff, almost always traders—the New York consulate was not. As masses of emigrants from the empire headed for the United States, consulates run by diplomatic officials became more common: Chicago and Pittsburgh in 1894 and, in the twentieth century, Cleveland, St. Louis, St. Paul, Philadelphia, and Denver. At the time of Loosey, however, New York was the main consular post of the empire in the United States, and the only one not managed by honorary staff.11
From the 1850s onwards, especially at the initiative of Trade Minister Karl Ludwig, Baron Bruck, who was closely linked to the commercial circuits of Trieste, an effort was made to expand Austrian trade in the world, including North America. It was decided to expand the consular network in the United States and the Caribbean and to create new posts in Canada. The expansion would be achieved by the nomination of honorary consuls, but the network hub would be the New York consulate general, to be directed by a diplomat. Loosey's arrival at the consulate in 1849 and his appointment as consul in 1852 and as consul general in 1856 were probably related to this effort.12
Furthermore, as well indicated by Phelps, the Austrian consulate general in New York City was, in those years, different from the others posts created by the Austrian court in the United States, developing activities that went far beyond the usual promotion of trade and commercial activities.13 It defended the interests of imperial citizens residing in the city, performed social activities formally representing the empire, collected information on enemies residing or working in New York, such as the ethnic press, and on American public opinion. A primary task was also to convey a good image of Austria in the United States. It made sense that this consulate should be run by an experienced career officer like Loosey.
Information about Luís de Arroyo, on the other hand, is scarce. He was probably the son or nephew of Miguel de Arroyo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Second Mexican Empire, and he seemed to have assumed a high position in that Ministry after his return to Mexico from the United States in 1866. Arroyo served as Mexican consul in New Orleans in 1863 and consul general in New York between 1864 and 1866, but his official position is not clear from the documentation. He introduced himself and acted as consul of the Mexican Empire, but, in many moments, the sources mentioned him as a mere Mexican commercial agent in the United States. This is probably due to the legal ambiguity of his situation since the US government never formally recognized the Second Mexican Empire.
Luís de Arroyo and Mexican Imperial Diplomacy in the United States
The creation of his own diplomatic service was one of the first measures taken by Maximilian after his arrival in Mexico. Diplomacy was obviously not a priority in the face of the need to win the war, and French financial demands further complicated the development of activities. Still, Maximilian created a diplomatic network that far surpassed the one Mexico had until that moment. The main focus was the European powers that supported, at some level, the imperial project, or were fundamental to its existence, which meant France, England, Austria, and Belgium, as well as the other nations of Europe that had interests in the Americas, notably Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, and the Holy See. But Maximilian also expanded the diplomatic network, to include the German Confederation, Switzerland, Russia, Scandinavia, Greece, and the Ottoman Empire, while outside Europe he tried to establish relations with the Empire of Brazil, ruled by his cousin Pedro II (1825–91). The consular network was expanded as well, and the Mexican Empire kept consulates in several European cities, including Trieste, as well as in La Habana and Jerusalem.14
The United States was, for obvious reasons, a central focus of imperial diplomacy. Since Washington never recognized Maximilian's reign, but rather directly supported Benito Juárez's government, this relationship never became official, giving the impression that the Mexican Empire did not act within the United States. The documents accumulated by Luís de Arroyo, however, allow us to examine more closely this conclusion and reconstruct, even if briefly, the Mexican imperial activities in the United States between 1864 and 1867.
According to the documentation, the Mexican Empire government kept a consulate general in New York, two consulates (New Orleans and San Francisco), and three vice consulates (Mobile, Savannah, and Charleston). There were also plans for the appointment of a vice consul in Philadelphia and for honorary vice consuls in Boston, Baltimore, Wilmington, Galveston, and Brownsville, as well as in Montréal, Canada, but there is no evidence that these plans were carried out.15 In addition, a network of confidential agents was set up to defend imperial interests, though we know only a few agents' names: Mariano Degollado, Colonel Esteban, Graham, Miguel Guillen, Henry Flint, Count Ressiguier, and Loosey himself.16 In 1866, moreover, one of these representatives, Colonel Esteban, was exposed for participation in unspecified shady business, which forced public intervention by both Arroyo and Loosey, though Loosey denied his status as imperial agent.17
Consulates and special agents had several tasks. First, it was their job to inform local public opinion about Mexican events and to resolve legal and commercial issues. To this end, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the empire endeavored to keep its representatives well informed on Mexican affairs. Newsletters called “Political Reviews” were sent out every month, with detailed information on events in Mexico, including military operations, the internal political situation, the emperor's activities, and so on. There was also a continuous flow of reports circulating between the government departments and the consulates to find solutions to problems regarding customs and trade issues.
The New York consulate general also received diplomatic documents produced by other imperial representations or agents in Europe, Central America, and Brazil, as well as by French representations in several countries. It then forwarded them to Mexico, through La Habana and Veracruz. It was through New York, for example, that Maximilian received in 1866 a great deal of information about the wars that were going on in the La Plata basin and between the Pacific Republics and Spain.18 Given the crucial importance of New York as a hub for communication with Mexico, the New York consulate general was undoubtedly one of the most important posts within the imperial diplomatic network.
Consulates and other imperial representatives were requested, in a manner resembling other such services around the world, to furnish political and commercial information about their host countries to Mexican officials. In the case of the American ones, the effort to keep the imperial government informed about domestic policy, especially regarding the relations with Mexico and the Civil War, was especially urgent. There was also a strong emphasis on surveillance over the activities of Benito Juárez's supporters in the United States, an activity largely carried out by confidential agents.
Another fundamental task was to influence American public opinion and government, and to defend the perspective of the Mexican Empire. Maximilian's documentation indicates that money was spent to this purpose in France, Spain, and other European countries. In the case of the American continent, the greatest effort was dedicated to the US public. Or to be more precise, as will developed below, US public opinion was the main target of the Maximilian's propaganda machine all over the world.
Maximilian's agents emphasized some points in their defense of the empire. First, that Benito Juárez was a tyrant and a traitor, ready, for instance, to sell Sonora to the United States only to defend his own power, whereas the Mexican Empire stood as the true defender of freedom and progress in Mexico.19 Second, that the stability guaranteed by the monarchy would be positive for American interests, due to the potential increase in trade and the stability south of the border.20 It was even suggested that the United States could, if the American government accepted the alliance with the Mexican throne, keep Central America free from British influence, which was an objective of American diplomacy at that moment.
Another point that was always emphasized by Maximilian's agents was that the Mexican monarchy did not oppose the Monroe Doctrine, in particular its principle that the Europeans should not intervene in matters involving the American continent.21 The Mexican people, they maintained, had freely chosen the monarchical form of government: Moreover, the US government had never had problems with the other monarchy on the continent, the Brazilian Empire.22 Thus, the political stability and the economic development granted to the Brazilian people by a Habsburg monarch would be replicated in Mexico by Maximilian. The politicians in Washington, it followed, would have had many reasons to recognize and support the new Mexican regime.
The importance of the issue is clear when we recall the activities performed by the American envoy to the court in Vienna between 1861 and 1867, J. Lothrop Motley. He did not need to defend the Union's point of view against the Confederates, since Austria did not support the secession of the southern states and did not want problems in the northern states. His greatest effort was to ensure that the Monroe doctrine was respected by the Austrians in the case of Mexico. This fact indicates how the Mexican Empire had, in those years, a crucial importance in the relationship between the United States and the Habsburg Empire. Likewise, it is evident that if Maximilian's government managed to convince American public opinion that it did not represent a violation of the Monroe Doctrine that would have been a great gain not only for the government in Mexico City but also for the Austrians, who would be spared the pressure on the matter from the American government.23
In practical terms, Arroyo and other agents of Maximilian continually requested funds to buy support from American newspapers. As early as 1865, the New Orleans consulate complained that the funds were barely sufficient to subsidize a few newspapers, whereupon the Ministry responded that there was a lack of money to expand such activities.24 Even so, the signs are clear that these funds eventually arrived. An advertising office, run by William Vincent Wells (1826–76), was set up in New York, and both Luís de Arroyo and Mariano Degollado wrote letters and articles for New York newspapers, at least some of them after payment.25
There were subsidies for books as well, but funds were limited. The writer Henry M. Flint (1829–68), for example, had been an agent of the empire since 1864 and published a book that defended the point of view of the empire and questioned, in particular, the decisions of Secretary of State William H. Seward.26 In a letter to Charles F. de Loosey in 1867, Flint recalled that he was to receive $2,500 a year for his services and for writing the book, but that he had only received $400 in 1865 and nothing else.27
In any case, the propaganda effort in the United States was the largest such effort promoted by the Mexican Empire worldwide. Shortly after Maximilian's death, the Mexican journalist and politician Manuel Payno (1810–94) commented on how the government had spent 100,000 pesos between 1864 and 1867 (a fifth of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs budget) to subsidize newspapers in France, Spain, and the United States, and that 85 percent of that amount had been spent in the United States.28 The largest item had been the payment for Count Resseguier's travels (35,000 pesos), followed by the subsidy (19,000 pesos) to eight newspapers in the United States (three in New York, two in Philadelphia, and one each in Washington, St. Louis, and Chicago) and the publication of an English-language newspaper, Mexican Times, in Mexico City (18,000 pesos). The rest of the money had been used to support Colonel Esteban's activities (9,900 pesos) and Henry Flint's services (2,500 pesos).
With respect to the United States, therefore, the Second Mexican Empire administration put into practice, even with few resources, its own foreign policy. However, the relationship of dependency with the European powers is evident, especially with France. The French consulate in New York was in close contact with the Mexican one, and when Luís de Arroyo left to return to Mexico in April 1865 it was the French vice consul, Louis de Borg, who temporarily took over the post. There were also contacts with the Spaniards in the United States and Cuba, but the French connection is the most evident. An examination of the documentation from the French consulate in New York City at that time would most likely reveal a close and supportive relationship with the representatives of the Mexican Empire, although this needs to be empirically confirmed. After the French, however, the most important connection the Mexican imperial officers had in New York City was the Austrian one, in the person of Charles F. de Loosey.
Loosey and the Austrian Connection
Charles F. de Loosey acted as Maximilian's informal envoy to the American government, as when instructed by the emperor to obtain American recognition before the French withdrawal. Maximilian also gave him $30,000 to influence American public opinion and provided him precise instructions on how Americans, “a materialist people,” could be convinced to change their minds as long as their material interests were met.29 Loosey also had a very close relationship and continuous correspondence with Luís de Arroyo, William Vincent Wells, and other Mexican and French representatives in New York, as well as in other cities in the United States, and he received reports from confidential Mexican agents. The relationship between Loosey and the Mexicans was so well known that, in his 1867 payment request, it was to Loosey that Henry Flint wrote, even suggesting that the Austrian government would be willing to pay the late bill left by Maximilian's government.
Loosey also collected many newspapers clippings from American and Austrian newspapers, as well as from some published in French in New York, on Mexican issues. Based on this information, he responded with texts written for these newspapers in defense of the empire.30 He also maintained close relations with American friends of the Mexican Empire, such as the aforementioned William Vincent Wells, who had connections and economic interests in Honduras and other Central American countries, and William Henry Hulburt (1840–1912).
Loosey's role as an economic agent of the empire is also visible. He worked as a representative for companies that had interests in Mexico, such as those related to gas and postal services. Maximilian directly supported these initiatives. On August 23, 1865, Loosey received from Maximilian an imperial letter that gave him full powers to find contractors for the construction of rail lines in the Tehuantepec isthmus, and between the capital of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, as well as for a shipping line between Veracruz and New Orleans.31
His business connections involved the French, especially in the project to open the Tehuantepec isthmus. Through his nephew, Hugo Fritsch, then in La Habana, he also engaged the Spaniards.32 Even so, he represented above all big business interests in the United States, mainly from New York. To be sure, these interests did not pass unnoticed. Matias Romero, the representative of Benito Juárez in the United States, protested vehemently when the board of directors of one of the companies Loosey intended to found brought together ten people, all Americans, including General Henry Sanford and the nephew of the Secretary of State, Clarence A. Seward.33 Indeed, Loosey's connections with American businessmen were so close that the amount he would be expected to receive, should negotiations with the Mexican government succeed, was already stipulated in the first draft of the contracts.34 Given the “railroad fever” in those years in the United States, and the huge sums of money and profits involved in it, the promise of opening up railway lines did indeed have great potential to attract the interest of American businessmen.35
Loosey also had some participation, even if indirect, in what might be called “the Guatemala project.” This country had been part of the First Mexican Empire (1821–23) and there was a perception, though mistaken, at Maximilian's court that it was willing to reintegrate into Mexico.36 Maximilian welcomed the possibility of extending his empire to Guatemala and the rest of Central America. This would even allow, in association with the Spanish power present in Cuba, and following the anticipated creation of a navy, to make the Caribbean Sea into a Mexican lake. The opening of the transoceanic canal in Tehuantepec and the linking to the Empire of Brazil, ruled by his cousin Pedro II, would complete this geopolitical vision. Such a scenario may have been unrealistic in the face of Anglo-American power and the real possibilities of the empire, but it was present at least in Maximilian's imperial imagination.
Such projects were greatly linked to the plans Napoleon III and the French had to reorganize Latin America into kingdoms and monarchies, forging an informal empire in the region.37 But they reflected Maximilian's own perspectives as well. A key figure in Maximilian's plans here was Count Resseguier, Maximilian's personal assistant and assistant secretary of the Navy. He visited the Yucatan peninsula and Central America, also contacting the French representatives in the region to verify the possibilities of territorial expansion.38 One of the main agents of the Mexican Empire in the United States, Count Resseguier visited the country several times. His purpose was always to bring the Mexican Empire closer to the United States, and to defend the Mexican Empire at the highest levels of government and public opinion. His contacts with Loosey were thus continuous, and at least some of the costs of his travels were paid for by Austrian consulate funds.39
The big question that remains to be answered is what motivated Loosey to defend the Mexican Empire. In his official biography, it is suggested that his support had its origins in his personal friendship with Maximilian, which reached back to their days in Vienna.40 This is not impossible, and it is clear that Charles F. de Loosey acted at least in coordination with Maximilian, since the communication between them was intense. That correspondence began when Maximilian was still in Miramar, in 1862, and continued for years. They also kept in touch through telegrams, often encrypted, and personally, as Loosey visited Mexico City several times, being honored at banquets and receptions. In one of them, he was awarded the Order of Guadalupe, one of the most important orders of the Mexican Empire.41
Even so, the question remains. Which Loosey acted between 1864 and 1867? A faithful friend and servant of the Emperor of Mexico? An Austrian career official who received instructions from Vienna to support Maximilian with the greatest possible discretion, from New York? Or a businessman with long years of life and relationships in the United States and major economic interests in Mexico and Central America?
Indeed, when Loosey organized several companies in Mexico and involved American businessmen in them, he responded directly to Maximilian's instructions, who argued that only material issues motivated the American government and that it was essential to put American traders and businessmen on the Mexican Empire's side, lobbying in its favor.42 However, other interests were also present, and the French ambassador to the United States did not support Loosey's initiative precisely because it would give American capital in Mexico an advantage over French.43 Loosey himself had long-standing connections with the American business community and would, as suggested above, profit greatly if these initiatives succeeded. In promoting these companies, did Loosey act as a loyal servant of Maximilian or as a representative of American capital?
To be fair, it was not unusual, in the context of the nineteenth century, for a consul to represent, officially or unofficially, more than one state, and to pursue personal interest through his position. In fact, these parallel activities were not exceptional for members of consular services from many states. It was also acceptable and even expected that consuls, even those who received salaries from their governments, had parallel economic activities to account for the expenses of their position. Thus, Loosey could hardly be accused of doing anything illegal. Still, the question remains.
It might be said, then, that Loosey was simply following a common practice and defending his personal interests. Even so, it is hard to believe that Loosey could act without a minimal endorsement from the government in Vienna. After all, his actions involved the Austrian government in issues sensitive for the American government and for public opinion in the United States. The imperial government in Vienna could not have failed to take this into account.
So how did the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs perceive these initiatives? Loosey had immense independence to act, not least because diplomatic and consular services, at that moment, were not unified. Such independence was accentuated by the fact that he was, for a period in 1863 and again in 1864, the Austrian chargé d'affaires in the United States, given that no one else occupied the position.44 In other words, in the crucial years between 1863 and 1864, Loosey did not have to answer to anyone, except directly to the ministry in Vienna. That said, his independence did not mean he did not have to account for his actions.
A complementary question to be asked, which can only be answered with a more detailed examination of the archival material, is whether or not the Austrian Legation, based in Washington, carried out its own activities in support of the Mexican Empire, coordinating them with those of Loosey in New York. Since there is no mention of this in Loosey's documentation, my hypothesis is that it did not.
The New York General Consulate was much better located for these underground support activities. It was at the heart of the American economic, cultural, and transportation network, but also relatively far from Washington, where such activities could draw attention. If the Austrian government wanted to help Maximilian and maintain deniability, Loosey and the New York Consulate would have been perfectly suited for the job. In addition, this consulate, under Loosey's command, had a long record of delivering propaganda, surveillance, lobbying, and intelligence on behalf of the Austrian throne. There was an expertise that could be easily used to support the Austrian emperor's brother in Mexico. It would have made sense, politically and practically, to concentrate all efforts in New York.
Besides, given the slow speed of communications at the time and the resulting autonomy for officials posted abroad, many other questions may be asked. Did people in Vienna even know what was going on in the United States? Or did the difficulty in transmitting information give Loosey and other representatives space to act independently? Were the officials in Vienna using the challenge of communication as a way to tacitly support Maximilian, via their representatives abroad, while at the same time being able to say that the Austrian diplomats had not supported Maximilian? Alternatively, were Austrian consular officials in the field assuming that the Austrian government and especially the emperor would want to help his brother? In any case, I do not have yet a paper trail or a documentation that could provide the basis for either endorsing or rejecting these claims. It would appear that a general instruction from the imperial government was issued, but for that assertion I lack direct evidence.
In 1868, moreover, after Maximilian's Mexican adventure had finished, Charles F. de Loosey published a book, briefly mentioned in his papers, apparently to try to improve the Austrian image in the United States.45 It was not possible to locate a copy of this publication, but it may be possible to imagine that it was an attempt by Loosey—on his own initiative, or following Vienna's recommendation, to improve Austria's image in face of events in Mexico. The connection of Maximilian's Mexican Empire with Austria was so evident—both from the family connection and from Loosey's initiatives—that a public relation campaign may have been necessary to reset and start over the relationship between the Habsburg Empire and the United States.
A cursory review of the documentation of Austrian diplomacy in the court of the Brazilian Empire indicates a similar picture.46 The Austrian representative did not openly support Maximilian's effort to get closer to the Brazilian Empire, so as not to damage Austrian relations with the Brazilian throne. He did, however, give some indirect support to the activities of Maximilian's representative, Pedro Escandón, and he carefully informed Vienna of his efforts. From that standpoint, Charles F. de Loosey may have acted with special vigor in defense of the Mexican Empire. This would be due to the importance of the United States for Mexico, as well as his particular interests in the country. But he was probably not the only Austrian representative abroad to give some support to Maximilian's imperial project. This would corroborate the hypothesis that the imperial government in Vienna had issued general guidelines, whether formal or informal, asking its representatives abroad to provide help to Maximilian's government when possible, as long as it did not compromise the formal position of the Austrian Empire on the matter. And yet, this must remain only a hypothesis, albeit one that deserves further research.
Maximilian's Mexican Empire was evaluated most of the time as a simple French protectorate, given its evident dependence on French soldiers, diplomacy, and money. This does not mean, however, that Maximilian imagined himself as a French puppet. As much as possible, Maximilian tried to build a space for his own power, both in domestic and foreign politics.47
One way to decrease his dependence on the French was to strengthen ties with other European powers, such as England and Spain. Maximilian also considered that his family ties would allow closer contact with his cousin Pedro II of the Empire of Brazil, with his father-in-law Leopold I of Belgium, and with other European sovereigns.48 Austrians, in particular, could be an important element for the balance of power with Napoleon III, and as early as 1864, in the instructions that Maximilian left with Thomas Murphy, his representative in Vienna, he recommended that the family connection should be explored to strengthen its position vis-à-vis the French.49
From Austria, it was expected, soldiers and emigrants would come to strengthen the Mexican Empire. Later, cultural and commercial ties would solidify the relationship between the “two Habsburg Empires.” Of course, as already indicated, the lack of interest that Emperor Franz Joseph and the Austrian government showed for the Mexican adventure ended up preventing the development of the “Austrian face” of the Mexican Empire.50 Such uninterest, however, may have been less absolute than is supposed, as the Austrian government was at least tolerant of activities by Loosey and other diplomatic representatives abroad on its behalf.
The activities of Charles Frederick de Loosey and Luís de Arroyo in the United States confirm, first, that the Mexican Empire government tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to maintain an autonomous foreign policy, as far away as possible from French hegemony. Second, they indicate that the Austrian government gave support, even if discreet and indirect, to Maximilian, accepting and perhaps stimulating the activities of Charles F. de Loosey in favor of the Mexican Empire within the United States. This tolerance does not alter the general picture of the situation that we already have. But it does indicate a new facet in the relationship among the United States, the Second Mexican Empire, and the Austrian Empire in those turbulent years of war and revolution.
Note: I would like to thank the Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies for financial support to conduct this research and Michael Burri for encouragement and support. I would also like to thank the anonymous referee for their comments on the first version of this article.
Richard Huzzey, “Manifest Dominion. The British Empire and the Crises of the Americas in the 1860s,” in American Civil Wars: The United States, Latin America, Europe and the Crisis of the 1860s, ed. Don Doyle (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017), 82–106; Howard Jones, Abraham Lincoln and a New Birth of Freedom: The Union and Slavery in the Diplomacy of the Civil War (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999); Tâmis Parron, A política da escravidão no Império do Brasil, 1826–1865 (Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 2011); Rafael Marchese, “The Civil War in the United States and the Crisis of Slavery in Brazil,” in American Civil Wars, ed. Doyle, 222–45; Vitor Izecksohn, Slavery and War in the Americas: Race, Citizenship and State Building in the United States and Brazil, 1861–1870 (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2014); David T. Gleeson and Simon Lewis, The Civil War as Global Conflict: Transnational Meanings of the American Civil War (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2014). See algo Thomas Bender, A Nation among Nations: America's Place in World History (New York: Hill and Wang, 2006).
The historiography on the subject is immense, especially, but not only, in Mexico. For the most recent historiography, see Erika Pani, “Juarez vs. Maximiliano: Mexico's Experience with Monarchy,” in American Civil Wars, ed. Doyle, 167–84; David Pruonto, “Mexico in the 1860s: An International Conflict Zone,” in Latin America's Martial Age: Conflict and Warfare in the Long Nineteenth-Century, ed. Gilmar Visoni-Alonso and Frank Jacob (Würzburg: Königshausen and Neumann, 2017); Alain Gouttman, La intervención en México 1862–1867. El espejismo Americano de Napoleón III (Madrid: Trama Editorial, 2012); Roberta Lajous Vargas, História minima de las relaciones exteriores de Mexico (1821–2000) (México, DF: El Colegio de Mexico, 2012).
See, only to mention a recent historiography, Pruonto, “Mexico in the 1860s”; Nicole M. Phelps, U.S.-Habsburg Relations from 1815 to the Paris Peace Conference: Sovereignty Transformed (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
Howard Jones, Blue and Gray Diplomacy: A History of Union and Confederacy Foreign Relations (Charlotte: University of North Carolina Press, 2010); Jones, Abraham Lincoln and a New Birth of Freedom.
For the relationship between the Habsburg Empire and the United States, see Phelps, U.S.-Habsburg Relations from 1815 to the Paris Peace Conference, 39–102.
Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv (AT-OeSTA/HHStA), HausA Maximilian von Mexiko, k. 21.
“Joaquín and Mariano Degollado: An Inventory of the Collection at the Benson Latin American Collection,” Texas Archival Resources Online, https://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/taro/utlac/00014/lac-00014.html (accessed September 21, 2020).
“Karl Friedrich Von Loosey,” in Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon (Wien, 1971).
Charles Frederick de Loosey, Collection of the Laws of Patent Privileges of All the Countries of Europe, the United States of N. America and the Dutch West-Indies (London, 1849); Loosey, Sammlung der Gesetze für Erfindungs-Privilegien der Sämmtlichen Staaten Europa's, der Vereinigten Staaten von Nord-Amerika, und Holländisch West-Indien. Herausgegeben von Carl F. Loosey (Wien: Hof- u. Staats-Aerial-Druckerei, 1849); Loosey, Bestimmungen über Handel u. Schifffahrt der Vereinigten Staaten von Nord. America (Wien: Hof- u. Staats-Aerial-Druckerei, 1855); Die Aufgabe der Österreichischen Industrie in den Vereinigten Staaten von Nord-Amerika. (Wien: Sommer, 1856).
“Karl Friedrich Von Loosey”; Sudden Death of the Austrian Consul-General,” New York Times, July 22, 1870. On his trajectory in New York and the consulate history, see also Rudolf Agstner, Austria (-Hungary) and Its Consulates in the United States since 1820. “Our Nationals Settling Here Count by the Millions Now….,” (Wien: LIT Verlag, 2012), 224–63.
Agstner, Austria (-Hungary) and Its Consulates; Phelps, U.S.-Habsburg Relations from 1815 to the Paris Peace Conference, 150–68.
Agstner, From Halifax to Vancouver: Austria (-Hungary) and Her Consular and Diplomatic Presence in Canada, 1855–2005 (Wien: Schriftenreihe der Landesverteidigungsakademie, 2005), 8–10.
Phelps, U.S.-Habsburg Relations from 1815 to the Paris Peace Conference, 160–62.
The Mexican's Empire Foreign Service demands new studies. The classic work is Arnold Blumberg, The Diplomacy of the Mexican Empire, 1863–1867 (Malabar, FL: Robert E. Krieger Publishing Co., 1987).
Charles F. de Loosey Papers, New York Historical Society, New York (hereafter cited as CLP-NYHS), v. 5, letters from the Ministry of Mexican Foreign Affairs to Louis de Borg, January 1, 1866 to August 26, 1866.
Österreichisches Staatsarchiv, Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv (hereafter cited as AT-OeSTA/HHStA) HausA Maximilian von Mexiko, K. 21.
For the correspondence between Arroyo e Loosey on the topic, see CLP-NYHS, v. 24, dozens of documents.
CLP-NYHS, v. 5, several reports and documents from February to August 1866.
CLP-NYHS, v. 3, letter from the Ministry of Mexican Foreign Affairs to the New Orleans consulate, April 20, 1864; v. 28, newspaper clipping without title from the New York Times, May 18, 1865.
CLP-NYHS, v. 3, letter from the Ministry of Mexican Foreign Affairs to Luís de Arroyo, June 10, 1865.
For an analysis of the strategic and ideological interests present in the Monroe Doctrine, it is worth reading Marco Mariano, L'America Nell' “Occidente”: Storia Della Dottrina Monroe (1823–1963) (Roma: Carocci, 2013).
CLP-NYHS, v. 23, document without identification, 1864. See also a printed leaflet on the matter in v. 28.
For Motley's time in Vienna, see Phelps, U.S.-Habsburg Relations from 1815 to the Paris Peace Conference, 69–75.
CLP-NYHS, v. 3, letter from the Ministry of Mexican Foreign Affairs to Luís de Arroyo, June 10, 1865.
CLP-NYHS, v. 23, several documents; AT-OeSTA/HHStA HausA Maximilian von Mexiko, K 21, folder “Mariano Degollado,” letter to the newspaper, New York Herald, June 27, 1865.
Henry M. Flint, Mexico Under Maximilian (Philadelphia: National Publishing Co., 1867).
CLP-NYHS, v. 24, letter from Henry M. Flint to Charles F. de Loosey, July 5, 1967.
M. Payno, Cuentas, gastos, acreedores y otros asuntos del tiempo de la intervención francesa y del imperio, de 1861 a 1867 (México, DF: Imprenta de Ignácio Cumplido, 1868), 700–701.
CLP-NYHS, v. 1, letter from Emperor Maximiliano to Charles F. de Loosey, August 23, 1865, and instruction from Emperor Maximiliano to Charles F. de Loosey, 1866.
CLP-NYHS, v. 26.
CLP-NYHS, v. 1, imperial letter from Emperor Maximilian to Charles F. de Loosey, August 23, 1865.
CLP-NYHS, v. 24.
Alfred Jackson Hanna and Kathryn Abbey Hanna, Napoleón III y México (México, DF: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1973), 218–20.
CLP-NYHS, v. 22–27.
Richard White, Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America (New York: W. W. Norton, 2011).
Raúl Vela Sosa and Raúl Vela Manzanilla, “La Península de Yucatán y la invasión francesa,” in La Resistencia Republicana en las Entidades Federativas De México, ed. Patricia Galeana (México, DF: Siglo XXI Editores, 2012), 873–74.
David Pruonto, Das Mexikanische Kaiserreich. Ein Franzosisches Kolonialabenteuer? (Bochum: Verlag Dr. Dieter Winkler, 2016); Thomas David Schoonover, The United States in Central America, 1860–1911: Episodes of Social Imperialism and Imperial Rivalry in the World System (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998); Stève Sainlaude, “France's Grand Design and the Confederacy,” in American Civil Wars, ed. Doyle, 107–24.
See AT-OeSTA/HHStA HausA Maximilian von Mexiko, K 21, folder “Resseguier,” which has dozens of reports from the French diplomats in Guatemala on the matter. See also, among others, José Luis Bravo Ugarte, História de México (México, DF: Editorial Jus, 1941), 297–98; Alfred Jackson Hanna and Kathryn Abbey Hanna, Napoleon III and Mexico. American Triumph over Monarchy (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1971), 189–90.
See all the accounting documents in CLP-NYHS, v. 31.
“Karl Friedrich Von Loosey.”
CLP-NYHS, v. 1
Ibid., letter from Emperor Maximilian to Charles F. de Loosey, August 23, 1865, and instruction from Emperor Maximilian to Charles F. de Loosey, 1866.
Hanna and Hanna, Napoleón III y México, 218–20.
“Former Austrian Ambassadors to the U.S.,” Austrian Embassy, Washington, D.C., https://www.austria.org/former-ambassadors-to-the-us (accessed January 12, 2021).
Charles Frederick de Loosey, The Austrian Way of Life (New York, 1868).
AT-OeStA/HHStA PA XXXVI 9 Brasilien (1860–1868).
Pruonto, Das Mexikanische Kaiserreich; Johann Lubienski, “Maximilian in Mexico. Romantische Plane Und Zerstorte Illusionen,” in Massimiliano. Rilettura Di Un'Esistenza, ed. Laura Ruaro Loseri (Trieste: Edizioni della Laguna, 1992); Der Maximilianeische Staat: Mexico 1861–1867. Verfassung, Verwaltung und Ideengeschichte (Wien, Köln, Graz: Böhlau, 1988).
See Maximilian's immense correspondence with sovereigns and members of the nobility from all over Europe and the Brazilian Empire in em AT-OeSTA/HHStA HausA Maximilian von Mexiko, K 44–45.
AT-OeSTA/HHStA HausA Maximilian von Mexiko, k. 34, letter from Maximilian to Thomas Murphy, April 10, 1864.
David Pruonto, “Did the Second Mexican Empire under Maximilian of Habsburg (1864–1867) Have an ‘Austrian Face’?,” Austrian Studies 20 (2012): 96–111.