Definitions

Charles-Joseph de Ligne

Charles-Joseph, 7th Prince of Ligne

Charles-Joseph, Prince de Ligne in French, Charles Joseph Fürst von Ligne (or Fürst de Ligne), in German: (May 23 1735 BrusselsDecember 13, 1814 Vienna) was a Field marshal and writer, and member of a princely family of Hainaut.

Military Service

As an Austrian subject he entered the imperial army at an early age. He distinguished himself by his valour in the Seven Years' War, notably at Breslau, Leuthen, Hochkirch and Maxen, and after the war rose rapidly to the rank of lieutenant field marshal. He became the intimate friend and counsellor of the emperor Joseph II, and, inheriting his father's vast estates, lived in the greatest splendour and luxury till the War of the Bavarian Succession brought him again into active service.

This war was short and uneventful, and the prince then travelled in England, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France, devoting himself impartially to the courts, the camps, the salons and the learned assemblies of philosophers and scientists in each country.

In 1784 he was again employed in military work, and was promoted to Feldzeugmeister. In 1787 he was with Catherine II in Russia and accoinpanied her in her journey to the Crimea. In 1788 he was present at the siege of Belgrade.

Shortly after the siege of Belgrade he was invited to place himself at the head of the Belgian revolutionary movement, in which one of his sons and many of his relatives were prominent, but declined with great courtesy, saying that "he never revolted in the winter." Though suspected by Joseph of collusion with the rebels, the two friends were not long estranged, and after the death of the emperor the prince remained in Vienna. His Brabant estates were overrun by the French in 1792-1793, and his eldest son killed in action at La Croix-duBois in the Argonne (September 14, 1792). He was given the rank of field marshal (1809) and an honorary command at court.

Later life

Despite the loss of his estates, Charles-Joseph lived in comparative luxury in his later life, and devoted himself to his literary work. He lived long enough to characterize the proceedings of the congress of Vienna with the famous mot: "Le Congrès danse mais ne marche pas."

Collected Works

His collected works appeared in thirty-four volumes at Vienna during the last years of his life (Mélanges militaires, littéraires, sentimentaires), and he bequeathed his manuscripts to the emperor's Trabant Guard, of which he was captain (Œuvres posthumes, Dresden and Vienna, 1817). Selections were published in French and German:

  • Œuvres choisies de M. le prince de Ligne (Paris, 1809)
  • Lettres et pensées du Maréchal Prince de Ligne, ed. by Madame de Staël (1809)
  • Œuvres historiques, littéraires ... correspondance et poésies diverses (Brussels, 1859)
  • Das Prinzem Karl von Ligne militärische Werke, ed. Count Pappenheim (Sulzbach, 1814)

The most important of his numerous works on all military subjects is the Fantaisies et préjuge's militaires, which originally appeared in 1780. A modern edition is that published by J Dumaine (Paris, 1879). A German version (Miltarische Vorurtheile und Phantasien, etc.) appeared as early as 1783. This work, though it deals lightly and cavalierly with the most important subjects (the prince even proposes to found an international academy of the art of war, wherein the reputation of generals could be impartially weighed), is a military classic, and indispensable to the students of the post. Frederician period. On the whole, it may be said that the prince adhered to the school of Guibert, and a full discussion will be found in Max Jahns' Gesch. d. Kriegswissenschaften. Another very celebrated work by the prince is the mock autobiography of Prince Eugène of Savoy (1809).

Other works of his include:

  • Lettres à Eugénie sur les spectacles (1774)
  • Céphalide, ou les Autres mariages samnites, comédie en musique (1777)
  • Préjugés et Fantaisies militaires (1780)
  • Colette et Lucas, comédie en musique (1781)
  • Coup d'œil sur Belœil (1781)
  • Fantaisies militaires (1783)
  • L'Amant ridicule, proverbe en prose (1787)
  • Mélanges militaires, littéraires et sentimentaires (1795-1811)
  • Mémoires sur les Juifs (1795-1811)
  • Les Embarras, pièce en un acte (manuscrit)
  • Contes immoraux

Marriage and Issue

On August 6, 1755, in Valtice, Charles-Joseph married Princess Maria Franziska Xaveria of Liechtenstein (22 November 1739 Vienna - 17 May 1821 Vienna), sister of Franz Josef I, Prince of Liechtenstein. The couple had 7 children.

He also had an illegitimate daughter by Adelaide Fleury;

His grandson, Eugene Lamoral de Ligne (1804-1880), was a distinguished Belgian statesman, and another grandson, Count Maximilian Karl Lamoral O'Donnell von Tyrconnell (1812-1895), helped save the life of Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria in 1853.

Notes

References

See Revue de Bruxelles (October 1839); Reiffenberg, "Le Feld. maréchal Prince Charles Joseph de Ligne," Mémoires de l'académie de Bruxelles, vol. xix.; Peetermans, Le Prince de Ligne, ou un écrivain grand seigneur (Liege, 1857), Etudes et notices historique concernant l'histoire des Pays Bas, vol. iii. (Brussels, 1890)

Links

Further reading

  • Mansel, Philip. The Prince of Europe: The Life of Charles-Joseph De Ligne, 1735–1814. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2003 (hardcover, ISBN 0-297-82922-X); 2004 (hardcover, ISBN 1-84212-731-4); London: Phoenix House, 2005 (paperback, ISBN 0-7538-1855-8).

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