Karl von Abel

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Karl von Abel (17 September 1788, Wetzlar - September 3, 1859) was a Bavarian statesman.

Abel was the son of a procurator at the superior Court of Justice. He studied from 1806-1809 law in Gießen and became a civil servant of Bavaria in 1810.

In 1817 he was appointed city and police commissar in Bamberg, in 1819 Governmental Councillor in Munich and in 1827 promoted to Senior Legal Secretary. In the Diet of 1831 he held a speech in favour of freedom of the press and against censorship.

In the following year, von Abel was assigned by King Ludwig I to take part of the regency accompanying the young King Otto to Greece. He associated with Georg Ludwig von Maurer in opposing against the president of the regency, Count Joseph Ludwig von Armansperg which he felt was too susceptible for the wishes of the English diplomacy. However the count was able to mobilise his supporters in Munich and to achieve that von Abel and von Maurer were unseated from the regency. Von Abel once again became Legal Secretary in the Ministry of the Interior. He married Friederike von Rinecker in 1836, a very religious woman who gained much influence on him.

On 1 November 1837, von Abel became Privy Councillor at the place of Ludwig, Fürst von Wallerstein and began to lead the Ministry of the Interior. At this time, the Church Conflict of Colonia excited the masses on religious and political levels. Soon enough the Ministry under von Abel proved to be strictly Catholic, following the traditions of Elector Maximilian I of Bavaria. The status of the clergy was raised and large sums were spent for religious issues. This was followed by several edicts, for example prescribing the genuflection also to Protestant soldiers during a Catholic service. The formation of Evangelic communities and the execution of their services was made complicated and restricted and strict censorship applied to all opposing movements.

Also in other issues von Abel proved his absolutist and ultramontane position. He authorized an edict disallowing the use of all modern terms, which try to foist the principle of classes with a representative one. As an example, the term of Ministry of the State was forbidden as the king must unite all power in himself. Several affronts against his precursor Wallerstein resulted in a duel which he lost.

Wasserstein raised to lead the opposition forming mainly in the newly acquired provinces of the kingdom against the paternalism of the Ministry. In the Diet of 1846 he openly fought the existing system. Von Abel could not avert the claims that he had broken the principle of parity and that the Christian party was in contact with radical elements, so thot the King lost his trust in him and decreed the secession of a Ministry of Culture and Education from Abel's ministry.

Von Abel was dismissed from power on 17 February 1847 when he and the other ministers opposed the naturalisation of the Kings' young lady Lola Montez. In the following, he had not only to suffer the disgrace of the king he had served for a long time, but was also repudiated by the members of his own party. In 1848 von Abel was voted into the Second Chamber, but refused to take the charge until the reign of Maximilian II of Bavaria, due to heavy attacks from all sides.

He was recalled in 1850 and retired from the political life. Until his death in 1859 he lived on his tenure Stamsried manor in Upper Palatinate.

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