1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hohenlohe

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HOHENLOHE, a German princely family which took its name from the district of Hohenlohe in Franconia. At first a countship, its two branches were raised to the rank of principalities of the Empire in 1744 and 1764 respectively; in 1806 they lost their independence and their lands now form part of the kingdoms of Bavaria and of Württemberg. At the time of the mediatization the area of Hohenlohe was 680 sq. m. and its estimated population was 108,000. The family is first mentioned in the 12th century as possessing the castle of Hohenloch, or Hohenlohe, near Uffenheim, and its influence was soon perceptible in several of the Franconian valleys, including those of the Kocher, the Jagst and the Tauber. Henry I. (d. 1183) was the first to take the title of count of Hohenlohe, and in 1230 his grandsons, Gottfried and Conrad, supporters of the emperor Frederick II., founded the lines of Hohenlohe—Hohenlohe and Hohenlohe-Brauneck, names taken from their respective castles. The latter became extinct in 1390, its lands passing later to Brandenburg, while the former was divided into several branches, only two of which, however, Hohenlohe-Weikersheim and Hohenlohe-Uffenheim-Speckfeld, need be mentioned here. Hohenlohe-Weikersheim, descended from Count Kraft I. (d. 1313), also underwent several divisions, that which took place after the deaths of Counts Albert and George in 1551 being specially important. At this time the lines of Hohenlohe-Neuenstein and Hohenlohe-Waldenburg were founded by the sons of Count George. Meanwhile, in 1412, the family of Hohenlohe-Uffenheim-Speckfeld had become extinct, and its lands had passed through the marriages of its heiresses into other families.

The existing branches of the Hohenlohe family are descended from the lines of Hohenlohe-Neuenstein and Hohenlohe-Waldenburg, established in 1551. The former of these became Protestant, while the latter remained Catholic. Of the family of Hohenlohe-Neuenstein, which underwent several partitions and inherited Gleichen in 1631, the senior line became extinct in 1805, while in 1701 the junior line divided itself into three branches, those of Langenburg, Ingelfingen and Kirchberg. Kirchberg died out in 1861, but members of the families of Hohenlohe-Langenburg and Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen are still alive, the latter being represented by the branches of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen and Hohenlohe-Öhringen. The Roman Catholic family of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg was soon divided into three branches, but two of these had died out by 1729. The surviving branch, that of Schillingsfürst, was divided into the lines of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst and Hohenlohe-Bartenstein; other divisions followed, and the four existing lines of this branch of the family are those of Waldenburg, Schillingsfürst, Jagstberg and Bartenstein. The family of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst possesses the duchies of Ratibor and of Corbie inherited in 1824.

The principal members of the family are dealt with below.

I. Friedrich Ludwig, prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen (1746–1818), Prussian general, was the eldest son of Prince Johann Friedrich (d. 1796) of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen, and began his military career as a boy, serving against the Prussians in the last years of the Seven Years’ War. Entering the Prussian army after the peace (1768), he was on account of his rank at once made major, and in 1775 he became lieutenant-colonel; in 1778 he took part in the War of the Bavarian Succession and about the same time was made a colonel. Shortly before the death of Frederick the Great he was promoted to the rank of major-general and appointed chief of a regiment. For some years the prince did garrison duty at Breslau, until in 1791 he was made governor of Berlin. In 1794 he commanded a corps in the Prussian army on the Rhine and distinguished himself greatly in many engagements, particularly in the battle of Kaiserslautern on the 20th of September. He was at this time the most popular soldier in the Prussian army. Blücher wrote of him that “he was a leader of whom the Prussian army might well be proud.” He succeeded his father in the principality, and acquired additional lands by his marriage with a daughter of Count von Hoym. In 1806 Hohenlohe, now a general of infantry, was appointed to command the left-wing army of the Prussian forces opposing Napoleon, having under him Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia; but, feeling that his career had been that of a prince and not that of a scientific soldier, he allowed his quartermaster-general Massenbach to influence him unduly. Disputes soon broke out between Hohenlohe and the commander-in-chief, the duke of Brunswick, the armies marched hither and thither without effective results, and finally Hohenlohe’s army was almost destroyed by Napoleon at Jena (see Napoleonic Campaigns). The prince displayed his usual personal bravery in the battle, and managed to rally a portion of his corps near Erfurt, whence he retired into Prussia. But the pursuers followed him up closely, and, still acting under Massenbach’s advice, he surrendered the remnant of his army at Prenzlau on the 28th of October, a fortnight after Jena and three weeks after the beginning of hostilities. Hohenlohe’s former popularity and influence in the army had now the worst possible effect, for the commandants of garrisons everywhere lost heart and followed his example. After two years spent as a prisoner of war in France Hohenlohe retired to his estates, living in self-imposed obscurity until his death on the 15th of February 1818. He had, in August 1806, just before the outbreak of the French War, resigned the principality to his eldest son, not being willing to become a “mediatized” ruler under Württemberg suzerainty.

II. Ludwig Aloysius, prince of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Bartenstein (1765–1829), marshal and peer of France, was born on the 18th of August 1765. In 1784 he entered the service of the Palatinate, which he quitted in 1792 in order to take the command of a regiment raised by his father for the service of the emigrant princes of France. He greatly distinguished himself under Condé in the campaigns of 1792–1793, especially at the storming of the lines of Weissenburg. Subsequently he entered the service of Holland, and, when almost surrounded by the army of General Pichegru, conducted a masterly retreat from the island of Bommel. From 1794 to 1799 he served as colonel in the Austrian campaigns; in 1799 he was named major-general by the archduke Charles; and after obtaining the rank of lieutenant-general he was appointed by the emperor governor of the two Galicias. Napoleon offered to restore to him his principality on condition that he adhered to the confederation of the Rhine, but as he refused, it was united to Württemberg. After Napoleon’s fall in 1814 he entered the French service, and in 1815 he held the command of a regiment raised by himself, with which he took part in the Spanish campaign of 1823. In 1827 he was created marshal and peer of France. He died at Lunéville on the 30th of May 1829.

III. Alexander Leopold Franz Emmerich, prince of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst (1794–1849), priest and reputed miracle-worker, was born at Kupferzell, near Waldenburg, on the 17th of August 1794. By his mother, the daughter of an Hungarian nobleman, he was from infancy destined for the church; and she entrusted his early education to the ex-Jesuit Riel. In 1804 he entered the “Theresianum” at Vienna, in 1808 the academy at Bern, in 1810 the archiepiscopal seminary at Vienna, and afterwards he studied at Tyrnau and Ellwangen. He was ordained priest in 1815, and in the following year he went to Rome, where he entered the society of the “Fathers of the Sacred Heart.” Subsequently, at Munich and Bamberg, he was blamed for Jesuit and obscurantist tendencies, but obtained considerable reputation as a preacher. His first so-called miraculous cure was effected, in conjunction with a peasant, Martin Michel, on a princess of Schwarzenberg who had been for some years paralytic. Immediately he acquired such fame as a performer of miraculous cures that multitudes from various countries flocked to partake of the beneficial influence of his supposed supernatural gifts. Ultimately, on account of the interference of the authorities with his operations, he went in 1821 to Vienna and then to Hungary, where he became canon at Grosswardein and in 1844 titular bishop of Sardica. He died at Vöslau near Vienna on the 17th of November 1849. He was the author of a number of ascetic and controversial writings, which were collected and published in one edition by S. Brunner in 1851.

IV. Kraft, prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen (1827–1892), soldier and military writer, son of Prince Adolf of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen (1797–1873), was born at Koschentin in Upper Silesia. He was a nephew of the Prince Hohenlohe noticed above, who commanded the Prussians at Jena. Educated with great rigour, owing to the impoverishment of the family estates during the Napoleonic wars, he was sent into the Prussian army, and commissioned to the artillery at the least expensive arm of the service. He joined the Prussian Guard artillery in 1845, and it was soon discovered that he had unusual aptitudes as an artillery officer. For a time his brother officers resented the presence of a prince, until it was found that he made no attempt to use his social position to secure advancement. After serving as a military attaché in Vienna and on the Transylvanian frontier during the Crimean War, he was made a captain on the general staff, and in 1856 personal aide-de-camp to the king, remaining, however, in close touch with the artillery. In 1864, having become in the meanwhile successively major and lieut.-colonel, he resigned the staff appointments to become commander of the new Guard Field Artillery regiment and in the following year he became colonel. In 1866 he saw his first real active service. In the bold advance of the Guard corps on the Austrian right wing at Königgrätz (see Seven Weeks’ War), he led the Guard reserve artillery with the greatest dash and success, and after the short war ended he turned his energies, now fortified by experience, to the better tactical training of the Prussian artillery. In 1868 he was made a major-general and assigned to command the Guard artillery brigade. In this capacity he gained great distinction during the Franco-German war and especially at Gravelotte and Sedan; he was in control of the artillery attack on the fortifications of Paris. In 1873 he was placed in command of an infantry division, and three years later was promoted lieutenant-general. He retired in 1879, was made general of infantry in 1883 and general of artillery in 1889. His military writings were numerous, and amongst them several have become classics. These are Briefe über Artillerie (Eng. trans. Letters on Artillery, 1887); Briefe über Strategie (1877; Eng. trans. Letters on Strategy, 1898); and Gespräche über Reiterei (1887; Eng. trans. Conversations on Cavalry). The Briefe über Infanterie and Briefe über Kavallerie (translated into English, Letters on Infantry, Letters on Cavalry, 1889) are of less importance, though interesting as a reflection of prevailing German ideas. His memoirs (Aus meinem Leben) were prepared in retirement near Dresden, and the first volume (1897) created such a sensation that eight years were allowed to elapse before the publication was continued. Prince Kraft died near Dresden on the 16th of January 1892.  (C. F. A.) 

V. Chlodwig Karl Victor, prince of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst (1819–1901), statesman, was born on the 31st of March 1819 at Schillingsfürst in Bavaria. His father, Prince Franz Joseph (1787–1841), was a Catholic, his mother, Princess Konstanze of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, a Protestant. In accordance with the compromise customary at the time, Prince Chlodwig and his brothers were brought up in the religion of their father, while his sisters followed that of their mother. In spite of the difference of creed the family was very united, and it was to the spirit that rendered this possible that the prince owed his liberal and tolerant point of view, which was to exercise an important influence on his political activity. As the younger son of a cadet line of his house it was necessary for Prince Chlodwig to follow a profession. For a while he thought of obtaining a commission in the British army through the influence of his aunt, Princess Feodora of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (née princess of Leiningen), Queen Victoria’s half-sister. He decided, however, to enter the Prussian diplomatic service. His application to be excused the preliminary steps, which involved several years’ work in subordinate positions in the Prussian civil service, was refused by Frederick William IV., and the prince, with great good sense, decided to sacrifice his pride of rank and to accept the king’s conditions. As auscultator in the courts at Coblenz he acquired a taste for jurisprudence, became a Referendar in September 1843, and after some months of travel in France, Switzerland and Italy went to Potsdam as a civil servant (May 13, 1844). These early years were invaluable, not only as giving him experience of practical affairs but as affording him an insight into the strength and weakness of the Prussian system. The immediate result was to confirm his Liberalism. The Prussian principle of “propagating enlightenment with a stick” did not appeal to him; he “recognized the confusion and want of clear ideas in the highest circles,” the tendency to make agreement with the views of the government the test of loyalty to the state; and he noted in his journal (June 25, 1844) four years before the revolution of ’48, “a slight cause and we shall have a rising.” “The free press,” he notes on another occasion, “is a necessity, progress the condition of the existence of a state.” If he was an ardent advocate of German unity, and saw in Prussia the instrument for its attainment, he was throughout opposed to the “Prussification” of Germany, and ultimately it was he who made the unification of Germany possible by insisting at once on the principle of union with the North German states and at the same time on the preservation of the individuality of the states of the South.

On the 12th of November 1834 the landgrave Viktor Amadeus of Hesse-Rotenburg died, leaving to his nephews, the princes Viktor and Chlodwig Hohenlohe, his allodial estates: the duchy of Ratibor in Silesia, the principality of Corvey in Westphalia, and the lordship of Treffurt in the Prussian governmental district of Erfurt. On the death of Prince Franz Joseph on the 14th of January 1841 it was decided that the principality of Schillingsfürst should pass to the third brother, Philipp Ernst, as the two elder sons, Viktor and Chlodwig, were provided for already under their uncle’s will, the one with the duchy of Ratibor, the other with Corvey and Treffurt. The youngest son, Gustav (b. February 28, 1823), the future cardinal, was destined for the Church. On the death of Prince Philipp Ernst (May 3, 1845) a new arrangement was made: Prince Chlodwig became prince of Schillingsfürst, while Corvey was assigned to the duke of Ratibor; Treffurt was subsequently sold by Prince Chlodwig, who purchased with the price large estates in Posen. This involved a complete change in Prince Chlodwig’s career. His new position as a “reigning” prince and hereditary member of the Bavarian Upper House was incompatible with that of a Prussian official. On the 18th of April 1846 he took his seat as a member of the Bavarian Reichsrath, and on the 26th of June received his formal discharge from the Prussian service.

Save for the interlude of 1848 the political life of Prince Hohenlohe was for the next eighteen years not eventful. During the revolutionary years his sympathies were with the Liberal idea of a united Germany, and he compromised his chances of favour from the king of Bavaria by accepting the task (November 1, 1848) of announcing to the courts of Rome, Florence and Athens the accession to office of the Archduke John of Austria as regent of Germany. But he was too shrewd an observer to hope much from a national parliament which “wasted time in idle babble,” or from a democratic victory which had stunned but not destroyed the German military powers. On the 16th of February 1847 he had married the Princess Marie of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, the heiress to vast estates in Russia.[1] This led to a prolonged visit to Werki in Lithuania (1851–1853) in connexion with the management of the property, a visit repeated in 1860. In general this period of Hohenlohe’s life was occupied in the management of his estates, in the sessions of the Bavarian Reichsrath and in travels. In 1856 he visited Rome, during which he noted the baneful influence of the Jesuits. In 1859 he was studying the political situation at Berlin, and in the same year he paid a visit to England. The marriage of his brother Konstantin in 1859 to another princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg led also to frequent visits to Vienna. Thus Prince Hohenlohe was brought into close touch with all the most notable people in Europe. At the same time, during this period (1850–1866) he was endeavouring to get into relations with the Bavarian government, with a view to taking a more active part in affairs. Towards the German question his attitude at this time was tentative. He had little hope of a practical realization of a united Germany, and inclined towards the tripartite divisions under Austria, Prussia and Bavaria—the so-called “Trias.” He attended the Fürstentag at Frankfort in 1863, and in the Schleswig-Holstein question was a supporter of the prince of Augustenburg. It was at this time that, at the request of Queen Victoria, he began to send her regular reports on the political condition of Germany.

Prince Hohenlohe’s importance in history, however, begins with the year 1866. In his opinion the war was a blessing. It had demonstrated the insignificance of the small and middle states, “a misfortune for the dynasties”—with whose feelings a mediatized prince could scarcely be expected to be over-sympathetic—but the best possible good fortune for the German nation. In the Bavarian Reichsrath Hohenlohe now began to make his voice heard in favour of a closer union with Prussia; clearly, if such a union were desirable, he was the man in every way best fitted to prepare the way for it. One of the main obstacles in the way was the temperament of Louis II. of Bavaria, whose ideas of kingship were very remote from those of the Hohenzollerns, whose pride revolted from any concession to Prussian superiority, and who—even during the crisis of 1866—was more absorbed in operas than in affairs of state. Fortunately Richard Wagner was a politician as well as a composer, and equally fortunately Hohenlohe was a man of culture capable of appreciating “the master’s” genius. It was Wagner, apparently, who persuaded the king to place Hohenlohe at the head of his government (Denkwürdigkeiten, i. 178, 211), and on the 31st of December 1866 the prince was duly appointed minister of the royal house and of foreign affairs and president of the council of ministers.

As head of the Bavarian government Hohenlohe’s principal task was to discover some basis for an effective union of the South German states with the North German Confederation, and during the three critical years of his tenure of office he was, next to Bismarck, the most important statesman in Germany. He carried out the reorganization of the Bavarian army on the Prussian model, brought about the military union of the southern states, and took a leading share in the creation of the customs parliament (Zollparlament), of which on the 28th of April 1868 he was elected a vice-president. During the agitation that arose in connexion with the summoning of the Vatican council Hohenlohe took up an attitude of strong opposition to the ultramontane position. In common with his brothers, the duke of Ratibor and the cardinal, he believed that the policy of Pius IX.—inspired by the Jesuits (that “devil’s society,” as he once called it)—of setting the Church in opposition to the modern State would prove ruinous to both, and that the definition of the dogma of papal infallibility, by raising the pronouncements of the Syllabus of 1864 into articles of faith, would commit the Church to this policy irrevocably. This view he embodied into a circular note to the Catholic powers (April 9, 1869), drawn up by Döllinger, inviting them to exercise the right of sending ambassadors to the council and to combine to prevent the definition of the dogma. The greater powers, however, were for one reason or another unwilling to intervene, and the only practical outcome of Hohenlohe’s action was that in Bavaria the powerful ultramontane party combined against him with the Bavarian “patriots” who accused him of bartering away Bavarian independence to Prussia. The combination was too strong for him; a bill which he brought in for curbing the influence of the Church over education was defeated, the elections of 1869 went against him, and in spite of the continued support of the king he was forced to resign (March 7, 1870).

Though out of office, his personal influence continued very great both at Munich and Berlin and had not a little to do with favourable terms of the treaty of the North German Confederation with Bavaria, which embodied his views, and with its acceptance by the Bavarian parliament.[2] Elected a member of the German Reichstag, he was on the 23rd of March 1871 chosen one of its vice-presidents, and was instrumental in founding the new groups which took the name of the Liberal Imperial party (Liberale Reichspartei), the objects of which were to support the new empire, to secure its internal development on Liberal lines, and to oppose clerical aggression as represented by the Catholic Centre. Like the duke of Ratibor, Hohenlohe was from the first a strenuous supporter of Bismarck’s anti-papal policy, the main lines of which (prohibition of the Society of Jesus, &c.) he himself suggested. Though sympathizing with the motives of the Old Catholics, however, he realized that they were doomed to sink into a powerless sect, and did not join them, believing that the only hope for a reform of the Church lay in those who desired it remaining in her communion.[3] In 1872 Bismarck proposed to appoint Cardinal Hohenlohe Prussian envoy at the Vatican, but his views were too much in harmony with those of his family, and the pope refused to receive him in this capacity.[4]

In 1873 Bismarck chose Prince Hohenlohe to succeed Count Harry Arnim as ambassador in Paris, where he remained for seven years. In 1878 he attended the congress of Berlin as third German representative, and in 1880, on the death of Bernhardt Ernst von Bülow (October 20), secretary of state for foreign affairs, he was called to Berlin as temporary head of the Foreign Office and representative of Bismarck during his absence through illness. In 1885 he was chosen to succeed Manteuffel as governor of Alsace-Lorraine. In this capacity he had to carry out the coercive measures introduced by the chancellor in 1887–1888, though he largely disapproved of them;[5] his conciliatory disposition, however, did much to reconcile the Alsace-Lorrainers to German rule. He remained at Strassburg till October 1894, when, at the urgent request of the emperor, he consented, in spite of his advanced years, to accept the chancellorship in succession to Caprivi. The events of his chancellorship belong to the general history of Germany (q.v.); as regards the inner history of this time the editor of his memoirs has very properly suppressed the greater part of the detailed comments which the prince left behind him. In general, during his term of office, the personality of the chancellor was less conspicuous in public affairs than in the case of either of his predecessors. His appearances in the Prussian and German parliaments were rare, and great independence was left to the secretaries of state. What influence the tact and experience of Hohenlohe exercised behind the scenes on the masterful will and impulsive character of the emperor cannot as yet be generally known.

Prince Hohenlohe resigned the chancellorship on the 17th of October 1900, and died at Ragaz on the 6th of July 1901. On the 16th of February 1897 he had celebrated his golden wedding; on the 21st of December of the same year the princess died. There were six children of the marriage: Elizabeth (b. 1847); Stephanie (b. 1851); Philipp Ernst, reigning prince of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst (b. 1853), who married Princess Charielée Ypsilanti; Albert (1857–1866); Moritz and Alexander, twins (b. 1862).

All other authorities for the life of Prince Hohenlohe have been superseded by the Denkwürdigkeiten (2 vols., Stuttgart and Leipzig, 1906). With the exception noted above these are singularly full and outspoken, the latter quality causing no little scandal in Germany and bringing down on Prince Alexander, who was responsible for their publication, the disfavour of the emperor. They form not only the record of a singularly full and varied life, but are invaluable to the historian for the wealth of material they contain and for appreciations of men and events by an observer who had the best opportunities for forming a judgment. The prince himself they reveal not only as a capable man of affairs, though falling short of greatness, but as a personality of singular charm, tenacious of his principles, tolerant, broad-minded, and possessed of a large measure of the saving grace of humour.

See generally A. F. Fischer, Geschichte des Hauses Hohenlohe (1866–1871); K. Weller, Hohenlohisches Urkundenbuch, 1153–1350 (Stuttgart, 1899–1901), and Geschichte des Hauses Hohenlohe (Stuttgart, 1904).  (W. A. P.; C. F. A.) 

  1. Through her mother, née Princess Stephanie Radziwill (d. 1832). Before Prince Wittgenstein’s death (1887) a new law had forbidden foreigners to hold land in Russia. Prince Hohenlohe appears, however, to have sold one of his wife’s estates and to have secured certain privileges from the Russian court for the rest.
  2. Speech of December 30, 1870, in the Reichsrath. Denkwürdigkeiten, ii. 36.
  3. “If I wished to leave the Church because of all the scandalous occurrences in the Catholic Church, I should have had to secede while studying Church history,” op. cit. ii. 92.
  4. Dr Johann Friedrich (q.v.), afterwards one of the Old Catholic leaders, was his secretary at the time of the Vatican council, and supplied historical and theological material to the opposition bishops.
  5. He protested against the passport system as likely to lead to a war with France, for which he preferred not to be responsible (Letter to Wilmowski, Denkw. ii. 433), but on the chancellor taking full responsibility consented to retain office.