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Maximiliano: Don’t go breaking my heart…

5 May 2018

Joshue Ramirez, Queretaro historian and photo collector, originally published this (in Spanish) on his facebook page.  Translated by permssion:

Following the execution of Maximilian von Hapsburg and Generals Miramón and Tomás Mejía, their hearts and other organs were placed in glass jars.

The embalming process, carried out in the Ex-convent of the Capuchines, was overseen by Inspector Rivadeneyra and Dr. Samuel Basch [Maximilian’s personal physician].

Dr. Bach said that Maximilian was shot at close range; all the bullets went through the body, so none were found during the autopsy. The three wounds in the chest were absolutely deadly. The first had pierced his heart, the second had pierced his chest bone and cut though major blood vessels, and a third went through a lung.

“It is said that Vice Admiral Teggetthoff was given some objects belonging to the Archduke, among them a tray and some silver candlesticks, which had been given to Maximilian in 1834, when he was still a child. It was also said that other person effects were destroyed at the request of Teggetthoff himself, including the clothing worn by the prince when he was shot. Teggetthoff was assured that the archduke’s heart and other entrails would remain in Mexico. ”

Maximiliano’s heart was placed in a sterilized glass jar filled with [180 proof]  alcohol to be delivered to Basch. Mejia’s heart was also deposited in a bottle of alcohol but in the home of Dr. Licea (see:  https://www.facebook.com/joshue.ramirez.18/posts/ 10154015608441268), perhaps in expectation of the general’s widow paying for it.  Miramón’s was taken by his widow, Concha [Concepción Lombardo de Miramón], who intended to take it with her to Europe.

Rivadeneira gave a report of that operation to General Mariano Escobedo and handed over the corpse of Maximilian to Miguel Palacios, who mounted a strong watch inside and outside the Capuchin temple.

Dr. Vicente Licea’s manuscript notes record that on June 19, 1867, he briefed Inspector Rivadeneyda in the Capuchin church … detailing the bullets received by the Archduke, and noting that the sixth and last … the so-called “coup de grace”, had been immediately below the left nipple, piercing the heart.   This great center of circulation, and the main vessels being broken, it was no longer possible to proceed with injections to preserve it intact.

Dr. Licea injected the body with zinc chloride, replacing the eyes with enamel buttons, taken from his instrument box. They were not entirely match … Maximilian[‘s eyes], because it was absolutely impossible to fulfill the need for accuracy under the conditions …. by virtue of such impossibility, he agreed with Dr. Basch, who would conveniently change his eyes, with ones he promised to  acquire in [Prague],before forwarding the corpse to Vienna.

Licea’s manuscript continues:

Wash and cleaned repeated times with the corresponding liquids the heart and all the viscera all, by necessity in alcohol [bi-clorurado] for the reasons that they have been exposed.

The corpse was exposed for three months.  During that time… [i]t rained abundantly and the humidity had free access to the body through a break that a soldier made in the glass top of the box, for satisfy awkward curiosity. This happened after the corpse was placed in its provisional coffin on June 28, 1867 until September when the governor of Queretaro ordered that a glass case from a niche in the  Ex-convent of Santa Clara replace that on the coffin.  [Between the time the glass was broken and September]… “the corpse … during its stay in Querétaro, was without the slightest alterations, and without dismaying bad smells” … observed Governor Cervantes, Deputies Dr. Hilarión Frías y Soto and the citizen entrusted with the custody of the aforementioned corpse.

“Many employees of the government of the state of Querétaro, and a multitude of private individuals, among them the photographer Francisco Aubert, who wanted to take a photograph of the corpse, requested that the box be opened and the glass removed.”

Finish the manuscript.

I think I have fulfilled my duty, and I must repeat to all of my compatriots all, and especially to my distinguished companions, these words.
IN MAGNIS ET VOLUSSE SAT (LAT) EST
Dr. Vicente Licea.

Following Dr. Licea’s report, he wrote to Mr. Romero y Ortiz  on July 25, 1867 about the sale of some garments and the organs of Archduke Maximilian.

“Mrs. Inés Salm Salm (Agnes zu Salm-Salm) entered into agreements with Dr. Licea; that later they tried to sell him to Tegetthoff, but he said he would not give “a peso”.

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