1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Schwarzenberg (family)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

SCHWARZENBERG, a princely family of Franconian origin, established in Bavaria and Austria, and carrying its present name since 1437. It was raised to princely rank in 1670. Besides Karl Philipp (see below) and Johann (1463–1528), a moralist and reformer who, as judge of the episcopal court at Bamberg, introduced a new code of evidence which amended the procedure then prevalent in Europe by securing for the accused a more impartial hearing, its best-known representative is Felix (1800–1852), Karl Philipp's nephew, an important Austrian statesman.

After six years' service in the Austrian army Felix espoused a diplomatic career at the instance of Metternich, and underwent a period of probation (1824–1848) at various European courts, in the course of which he confirmed his aristocratic aversion to popular government, but was led to acknowledge that absolutism needs to be justified by efficiency of administration. In 1848 he took an active part in the war against Piedmont and the insurgents in Vienna. On Nov. 21st of the same year he was appointed head of a reactionary ministry. Himself a soldier, he aimed at the ultimate restoration of the absolute monarchy by means of the army. At first he temporized, and on the 27th of November a proclamation was issued stating the intention of the government to uphold constitutional principles, but at the same time maintaining its intention to keep the empire intact even at the cost of a separation from Germany. The removal of the Austrian parliament to Kremsier followed the abdication of the emperor Ferdinand, and on March 7th 1849 the proclamation of a centralized constitution for the whole Austro-Hungarian monarchy, after the Austrian victory at Kopolna had seemed to Schwarzenberg to have crushed the Magyar power of resistance. This was followed by the declaration of Hungarian independence; and Schwarzenberg did not hesitate ultimately to call in the aid of Russia to put an end to the insurrection (November). This done, he was free to turn his whole attention to Germany. His refusal to incorporate only the German provinces of the monarchy in the proposed new German Empire had thrown the German parliament into the arms of Prussia. His object now was to restore the status quo ante of the Confederation, with the old predominance of Austria. His success in this respect was partly due to exterior circumstances, notably the mistimed exaggerations of the German revolutionists, but largely to his diplomatic skill, unscrupulousness and iron tenacity of purpose with which the weakness of Frederick William IV. and his ministers was unable to cope. His triumph came with the restoration of the old federal diet in May 1850 and the signature of the convention of Olmütz on the 29th of November of the same year (see Germany: History).

See Berger, Felix, Fürst zu Schwarzenberg (Leipzig, 1853); A. Beer, Fürst Schwarzenberg’s Deutsche Politik bis zu den Dresdener Konferenzen (Historisches Taschenbuch, Leipzig, 1891). For Johann see W. Scheel, Johann, Freiherr von S. (Berlin, 1905).