The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Brühl, Heinrich, Count von

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The Encyclopedia Americana
Brühl, Heinrich, Count von
Edition of 1920. See also Heinrich von Brühl on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

BRÜHL, brėl, Heinrich (Count von), Saxon politician: b. Weissenfels, Prussia, 13 Aug. 1700; d. Dresden, 28 Oct. 1763. As a page he gained the favor of Frederick Augustus I of Poland, and on the death of the King in 1733, the crown of Poland with the other regalia being, through the good fortune of Brühl, entrusted to him, he carried them immediately to the new Elector, Augustus III, and showed the greatest activity in promoting his election. He had cunning and skill sufficient to govern his master and get rid of his rivals and succeeded in keeping everybody at a distance from the King. No servant entered his service without the consent of Brühl, and even when he went to the chapel all approach to him was prevented. Brühl kept 200 domestics; his guards were better paid than those of the King himself, and his table more sumptuous. Frederick II says of him, “Brühl had more garments, watches, laces, boots, shoes and slippers, than any man of the age. Cæsar would have counted him among those curled and perfumed heads which he did not fear”; but Augustus III was no Cæsar. When this idle prince loitered about smoking, and asked, without looking at his favorite, “Brühl, have I any money?” “Yes, sire,” was the continual answer; and to satisfy the King's demands he exhausted the state, plunged the country into debts and greatly reduced the army. At the beginning of the Seven Year's War it comprised but 17,000 men, and these were compelled to surrender at Pirna from want of the necessary supplies. Brühl fled with the King, the pictures and the china, to Poland; but the archives of the state were left to the victor. He was no less avaricious of titles and money than of power. An examination after his death showed that he owed his immense fortune to the prodigality of the King rather than to unlawful means of accumulation. His own profusion was often beneficial to the arts and sciences.