John (Johann Nepomuk Maria Joseph), king of Saxony, born in Dresden, Dec. 12, 1801, died there, Oct. 29,1873. He was the youngest son of Duke Maximilian of Saxony and the princess Carolina of Parma. At the age of 20 he entered the ministry of finance, of which he was president until he retired in 1831. As a member of the upper house he took an active part in the discussion of the constitution of that year. He was commander of the national guard from 1831 to 1846. His brother, Frederick Augustus II., dying without issue, Aug. 9, 1854, he became king. He adopted a policy on eastern affairs hostile to the western powers, and in the war of 1866 took the side of Austria. The Prussians entered Saxony June 18, and the Saxon army, having withdrawn without a blow to Bohemia, fought against them in the battle of Koniggratz, July 3. Peace was concluded between Prussia and Saxony, Oct. 21, and the king returned to Dresden Nov. 3, having agreed to pay a large sum, and to cede the fortress of Konigstein. Subsequently Saxony entered the North German confederation, and her troops, under command of the crown prince Albert, took a conspicuous part in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71. King John early showed a taste for archaeological study and Italian literature.
He made a journey to Italy in 1838, and as the fruit of his studies published, under the pseudonyme Philalethes, a German translation of the Divina Commedia of Dante, with critical and historical notes of great value (Leipsic, 1839-'49; 2d ed., 1865). In 1824 he became president of the society of antiquaries of Saxony, and in 1852*and 1853 was president of the German society of history and antiquities. He left manuscript translations from the English of 70 poems, including several by Bryant.
John (Johann Baptist Joseph), archduke of Austria, ninth son of the emperor Leopold II. and Maria Louisa of Spain, born in Florence, Jan. 20,1782, died in Gratz, May 10,1859. He was carefully educated, and in 1800, when but 18 years of age, was made commander-in-chief of the Austrian army. He pressed forward into Bavaria, encountered the French under Moreau at Hohenlinden, and suffered a grave defeat there (Dec. 3), which was quickly followed by a second at Salzburg (Dec. 14). After the conclusion of peace in February, 1801, he became director-in-chief of the departments of fortification and engineering throughout the empire. He especially interested himself in the welfare of Tyrol, and after serving as minister of war from 1803 to 1805, he was appointed in the latter year to command the army stationed in that province. After the separation of Tyrol from Austria, he planned through Hormayr the rising of the Tyrolese in 1809 against their new masters, and commanded with success the army operating there and in Italy, defeating the viceroy Eugene (April 16) in an important engagement near Sacile, but retreating when he heard of the critical situation of Vienna. On his. retreat he suffered two defeats (on the Piave and at Raab), nor was an attempt to join his forces with those of his brother at Wagram attended with better fortune.
He resigned his command soon after the peace of October, 1809, and was afterward but little concerned in military affairs. He lived in retirement in Gratz, a city on which he conferred many public benefits, till 1848, when he was elected vicar of the empire (Reichsverweser) by the Frankfort parliament. In this capacity he chiefly devoted himself to protecting the interests of the house of Austria against the growing preponderance of Prussia; and this course he continued after the nomination of the Prussian king as emperor. On the expiration of his term of office (Dec. 20, 1849), which in the mean while had become merely nominal, he again retired to Gratz. He contracted a morganatic marriage in 1827 with Anna Plochel, the daughter of a Styrian postmaster; and by her he left one son, the count of Meran.