Charles von Hügel/Memorial Address

Hügeldenkmal, Vienna (Benks).png

At Hietzing, Vienna.
by JOHANN BENKS, 1901.




Translated from the German


Hortologe, Geograph und Staatsman.

Gedenkrede gehalten anlässlich der Enthüllung des Hügeldenkmals,
am 3. October 1901
, von Dr Julius Wiesner, k. k. Hofrath u.
Universistäts-professor in Wien. Vienna, 1901. 8vo.


inscription on the hügeldenkmal



AMONG those in our country, who are gardeners and lovers of gardens, the thought arose of perpetuating the memory of Charles Baron von Hügel, the renowned promoter of horticulture in Austria. This inspiration has now been happily realized.

Near the scene of Hügel's successful exertions, in beautiful grounds accessible to the public[1], stands the bust which we unveil to-day, a work from the master-hand of Johann Benks.

It is but fitting on this occasion to sketch the life-history of this never to be forgotten man.

Great as was his fame as a promoter of horticulture, that was not the only sphere in which his laborious life bore fruit. He laboured in many departments no less honourably, and, in some of these, with no less a measure of success. Indeed, I do not exaggerate when I say that it would be difficult to find anyone, sufficiently many-sided and possessed of enough detailed knowledge, to be capable of pronouncing an adequate judgment upon Hügel's various achievements. To do full justice to his life’s work, instead of one speaker there should appear in this place a hortologist, a botanist, an ethnographer, and an anthropologist. Even so the picture of his activity would not be complete: his spirit of enquiry led him also into the domains of zoology, of ancient history, of numismatics, of archaeology[2]; in early years he was a brave soldier; and, in the last period of his active life, a respected diplomatist.

If, after some hesitation, I accepted, insufficiently equipped as I was, the honourable invitation to depict Charles von Hügel's life, I did so because I felt that, as a member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, I was under a greater obligation than other members of the Hügel Memorial Committee to do honour to my late colleague.

The obvious difficulty of describing a life, active in so many and so various fields of activity, assures me—this I may assume—of the forbearance of this honourable assemblage.

Charles Alexander Anselm von Hügel[3], Baron of the German Empire and Banneret, was born at Ratisbon on April 25, 1795[4]. His father, Aloys Baron von Hügel, had been, since 1790, in the Austrian service. At the time of Charles' birth his father was the Concommissär of the Reichsversammlung[5], and at the close of his diplomatic career he was presented with the Grand-cross of the Order of St Stephen in recognition of the services which he had rendered to the State. He was a stern man, and in old age inclined to melancholy. On the other hand Charles' mother[6] is described as a woman who filled the house with brightness and brought refreshing good-humour wherever she went. From her he inherited his beautiful, sympathetic exterior, his affability, and his serenity.

In the parental house he received a careful education, with his elder brother Clemens, who was afterwards Attaché to the Austrian Embassy in Brazil, and, later, Director of the Imperial Archives at Vienna. Charles studied law at Heidelberg, then entered the Austrian army and took his part as a brave soldier in the wars of independence. With the Austrian army he entered Paris, and was subsequently employed in a diplomatic mission which led him to the court of the King of Sweden. Here the desire for travel awoke in him, and he took advantage of the opportunity to become acquainted not only with Sweden, but also with Norway and Denmark. On his return he was employed in a military capacity[7] in the South of France and in Italy, and, eventually, as Military Attaché at Naples. In the year 1824 he went to Vienna, and shortly afterwards retired from the army with the rank of captain, and the decoration of the Army Cross[8]. In 1849 he received his majority.

Hügel left the army in order to strike out quite a new line of life, and to take up the study of horticulture and of natural science. At Hietzing, in the neighbourhood of Vienna, he established his beautiful home, a villa arranged according to his own taste, in the midst of gardens and pleasure-grounds which he called into existence, and which, under his constant care and personal superintendence, at once became famous. Here, with a success as great as his assiduity, he worked at the most diverse branches of horticulture. With his easily enkindled intellectual curiosity he soon interested himself in other branches of natural science, and made a profound study of them without ever renouncing his horticultural proclivities. These pursuits awoke in him the desire to become acquainted with the richest organic life of the earth, and so, little by little, the plan was matured of a great journey through all parts of the old world, with India for its goal. With untiring zeal he elaborated this plan, and, without discontinuing his studies in natural science, he devoted himself also to those branches of psychological science which bear on the language, the history, and the political and moral development of all those ancient civilizations with which he desired to become acquainted by personal observation. For reasons which I will indicate later this scheme was carried out sooner than Hügel contemplated.

In the year 1830 Hügel started on his great journey, which for six years kept him away from home. Preparatory studies led him first to England and France. Taking his departure from Toulon, he went to Greece, Crete, and Cyprus. After an extended sojourn in the Nile country, Syria, and Palestine, he reached India in the year 1832. It would take me too far to give a complete description of his route[9]; I must be satisfied with mentioning a few of its principal points. He visited the Deccan, Goa, and Mysore, ascended the Blue Mountains[10], and went by way of Koimbattur to the coast of Malabar, thence by Travancore to Cape Comorin. Next followed a journey through Ceylon, which greatly enriched his collections. This journey occupied four months, and gave Hügel the opportunity of becoming acquainted with all parts of this island, so unusually rich in nature's treasures. Then along the coast of Coromandel he proceeded to Pondicherry and Madras, and thence sailed to the Indian Archipelago, to Australia, New Zealand, and Manilla. A new, great, and as far as scientific results are concerned, a most important part of the expedition, was the journey which he accomplished from Calcutta through Northern India, with Cashmere and the land of the Sikhs for its end. Continually collecting and observing, Hügel crossed the high lands of the Himalayas and skirted the frontier of Thibet to Cashmere. Here he accumulated the rich stores of material which are elaborated in his great work, partly by his own labours, and partly by those of prominent specialists. Through the country of the Sikhs Hügel proceeded to Delhi, whence, after an absence of four years, he returned to Bombay, the starting-point of his Indian travels. In the year 1836 he began the return journey. This time his way led by the Cape of Good Hope and St Helena to England, and thence to Vienna.

Once again at home, he went to work keenly and eagerly upon the enormous collections and observations accumulated during his travels, at the same time that, with equal eagerness and veritable passion, he prosecuted his horticultural work and former studies. With what success he pursued these seemingly disparate aims I shall have to shew later.

In spite of this intense activity, Hügel cultivated society, and, owing to his large experience, his gracious manners, and his lovable personality, was beloved and respected in all circles. He was as faithful as his brother Clemens to the powerful Chancellor of State, Prince Metternich, though he did not yield to him so blind a devotion. On Metternich's fall, Charles took him, at the peril of his own life, through Vienna, across the Austrian frontier, and accompanied him to England. After the storms of the year 1848, Hügel, who had now been for five-and-twenty years traveller, student of nature, and horticulturist, from patriotic motives once more entered the service of the State.

When the second war of Piedmont broke out he was sent by Prince Felix of Schwartzenberg on a diplomatic mission to the headquarters of Radetzky. When our troops occupied Tuscany he was entrusted with the representation of Austria in that country, and soon after was named Ambassador Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Grand Ducal Court of Florence, a position which he held for ten years.

Here [in 1851] he contracted his happy union with the daughter of the British General, Francis Farquharson[11]. On his Indian journey Hügel saw, for the first time, her who in later years was to be his life’s companion.[12] Her father was then in the East Indian army, and had a reputation as a distinguished officer. She was then no more than a child. Later [in 1847], a lovely, blooming girl, she visited with her father that home at Hietzing, which in an English biography of Hügel is described as "a fairy abode[13]." In spite of the great difference of age,—he was in his fifty-fifth, she in her twentieth year,—the closest and most devoted affection united them.

After the well-known events of the year 1859, Hügel left Italy with the Grand Duke. In accordance with the peace preliminaries of Villafranca, this benign prince, to whom Tuscany stood indebted for many timely reforms, was to return again to Florence; but events proved otherwise. Accordingly Hügel, after a year's residence in Vienna, was called to the post of Austrian Ambassador at Brussels. There also, as at Florence, he won for himself many friends and admirers; and when, in the year 1867, on account of his health, he resigned his post and retired, at the end of a successful diplomatic career, he left behind him kindly memories in all circles of the society of the Belgian capital.

When he was at Florence, and, later, at Brussels, Hügel resumed his scientific studies, and several of his geographical works were written in these two places. At Florence, he spent much of the summer months at [Quarto] the country seat of Prince Anatole de Demidoff whose gardens [at San Donato] developed to unimagined beauty under Hügel's master-hand. At Brussels he selected a house in the neighbourhood of the Botanical Gardens[14]. In these picturesque gardens, situated in the centre of the town, he might often he seen in the conservatories and among the flowers, where he was always received by the working botanists of the place as an honoured and most welcome guest. Thus the love of the world of flowers accompanied him to Florence, and to Brussels, indeed it was with him to the end of his life! When he retired, his wish was to end his days in England, the country of his beloved wife. But after a three years’ sojourn there, suffering gravely in health, and feeling death approaching, he was drawn strongly towards his own home, and he was on the way to Vienna, when death overtook him, at Brussels, on the second of June, 1870. The body was brought to Vienna, and deposited in the family vault at Penzing, near Hietzing, on the seventh of the same month[15].

Hügel left two sons and a daughter. The elder son, Frederick, lives in London, and is occupied with studies relating to the philosophy of religion and to Biblical criticism. The younger son, Anatole, inherited many of his father's tastes and was a traveller, collector, and student, in ornithology and ethnology, until, eventually, he restricted himself to the latter subject in conjunction with archaeology. He is at present Director of the Museum of Archaeology and of Ethnology in the University of Cambridge[16]. The daughter, Pauline, remained unmarried, and with her mother lived a retired life at Boscombe in the south of England, continually active in the service of charity, and especially in the care of the poor. She died this year[17]. Hügells widow, the Baroness Elizabeth, now advanced in years, lives, since the death of her daughter, close to her son Anatole at Cambridge.

Garden-craft was comparatively late in raising itself to a high level at Vienna, and, generally, throughout Austria. Hot-house culture began with us in the last third of the eighteenth century[18]. Delight in the glorious plants of the Torrid zones then awoke, stimulated by the success of the Schönbrunn Garden culture in particular, and numerous well-cared-for conservatories arose, chiefly in the gardens of the great nobility. These efforts influenced less exalted circles: the love of flowers became more general, and as early as the third decade of the nineteenth century, flower exhibitions were held in Vienna, and were heartily appreciated and taken up by the public. Not only were lovely and rare tropical plants now grown in conservatories, for instance in those of the Schwartzenberg gardens in the Rennweg, but the love of particular species which could be cultivated on small means was developing in many circles, and as we have to-day our chrysanthemum exhibitions, so there were then special exhibitions of pelargoniums, of pinks, and of other flowers[19].

Hügel, more than anyone, strove to promote horticulture among us in its most diverse branches. Archduke Anthony, an accurate observer and lover of the flower world, started the idea of advancing horticulture in Austria by the foundation of a Horticultural Society [Gartenbaugesellschaft], and in Hügel he found the personality which seemed best fitted for the realization of this idea.

Hügel prepared a memorandum setting forth the utility of the proposed institution, and having by this detailed and convincing statement obtained the approval of the Chancellor of State, Prince Metternich, he next, in conjunction with members of the nobility who had already shewn themselves lovers of the garden, addressed a memorial to the Government asking permission to found a Horticultural Society. This petition bore the signatures of Prince Eduard Lichnowski, of Counts Philipp Stadion, Caspar Sternberg, Eugen Czernin, of Baron Karl von Hügel, and of Baron Sigismund Pronay. This was in the year 1827. The permission to establish the new society followed, with the cognizance of the Agricultural Society [k. k. Landwirthschaftsgesellschaft], in the year 1830. But the approval of the statutes, elaborated by Hügel in conjunction with the other projectors, was retarded for years by the dilatory manner in which business was transacted in those days. Meanwhile Hügel had begun his great journey, but so much was he the very soul of the undertaking that, at the suggestion of the Archduke Anthony, it was decided to postpone the establishment of the society until he should have returned from his travels[20].

When Hügel, after six years' wanderings, came home to Vienna, there was much work awaiting him and he was overwhelmed with business. Nevertheless, he quickly and energetically took in hand the establishment of the Horticultural Society. The minutes of the preliminary meetings, drawn up by himself, are preserved in the archives of the society. I have had an opportunity of examining these, and of thus noting his skill in giving always the best and most profitable turn to these discussions, in which, besides the above mentioned signatories, Prince Adolf Schwartzenberg, Count Johann Keglewick, and Baron Louis Pereira took part. Hügel was elected the first President of the newly-established k. k. Gartenbaugesellschaft, and, as long as he lived in Vienna, that is to say, till the year 1848, he continued to hold this dignity. The society throve under his guidance: he not only shaped its future by his personal exertions, but also knew how to enlist supporters of exceptional force. Thus, for example, he succeeded in persuading Stephan Endlicher, the most celebrated botanist then working in Vienna, to accept the secretaryship of the society. After Hügel's retirement from its leadership the Horticultural Society declined materially both as to work and in its reputation, until, in 1861, it took a new flight under the presidency of Count Franz Ernst Harrach. A study of Hügel’s activity in furthering the growth of the Horticultural Society would necessarily lie beyond the limits of this commemorative speech. I will only point out that his services to the society were so greatly valued that, though the thought of founding the society proceeded from an enlightened Prince of our Imperial House, it was Charles von Hügel who was recognised, on all sides, as its actual founder, and on him, when he left Viennna, was conferred for life the honorary presidency of this his own creation[21].

With this great achievement in the province of Austrian horticulture, two others associate themselves: the promotion of horticulture by the works successfully carried out in his own gardens, and his influence on the laying out of pleasure-grounds within and without Austria.

In the early years of his garden and during the time of Hügel's absence on his travels, Johann Heller officiated as the responsible gardener[22]. To him was reserved the cultivation of the plants collected by the Baron, and the rearing of plants from the thousand kinds of seeds which he sent home, Heller carried out this difficult task with skill and success, and to the satisfaction of his master.

As was to be expected, the Hügel gardens, with their innumerable novelties, rapidly attained a high reputation. There were, of course, some among the plants brought home from abroad, which proved unsuitable for home cultivation; but not a few have won for themselves a lasting place in the gardens of the world. Thus, only to mention the best known and the most beautiful,Rhododendron nilgheriense, collected by Hügel in the Blue Mountains of India; splendid Banksias, among them Banksia huegelii, and B. rubra; the glorious fern, Cyathea dealbata; Musa ensete, now so commonly found in pleasure-grounds, the only banana species which can be seen, with us, in the open air; further, Aralia crassifolia, Huegelia cœrulea, Sterculia huegelii, Lobelia erinus, Lilium giganteum, numerous kinds of Hardenbergia, Pimelia, Pittosporum, and Grevillia[23].

At Schönbrunn, out of the plants taken over from the Hügel gardens, there are now still cultivated: one hundred and thirty one species of Proteacea, two hundred and fifty species of Erica, numerous Ruteaceæ, Diosmeæ, noble species of Papilionacea, including Hovea celsii and pungens[24]. Amongst the Banksias, cultivated at the present time at Schönbrunn, some specimens remain which were derived from the Hügel property, including a few actually gathered by his own hand in Australia.

No Austrian hortologist has done more than Hügel for the introduction of new plants into general garden culture. Next to him must be placed Roezl, on whose career Hügel had no slight influence. Roezl learnt gardening at Vienna under Ludwig Abel, who, after Heller, acted for a long time as chief in the Hügel gardens. Roezl went later to the celebrated gardens of Van Houtte at Ghent. Later still, he travelled in South and Central America, and founded in Mexico a nursery from which he enriched European gardens with many beautiful novelties. He died in the year 1885 at the age of sixty-one, at Prague, where, in grateful remembrance of his merits as gardener and botanist, a monument has been erected to him[25].

With Hügel's name is indissolubly connected the name of a man who is yet a living memory with all of us, whose energy and aptitude have contributed not a little to raise horticulture among us. I mean Daniel Hoibrenk[26]. Hügel recognised the talents of this man, and offered him, under very favourable conditions, the post of head—gardener. Hoibrenk, whose education as a gardener had been received in Holland, left the post he then held at Paris and entered Hügel's service. He was principally active in that part of the Hietzing property which served as a nursery. By setting apart a portion of the Hietzing estate for commercial gardening Hügel perfumed a service of no small importance. He was not of course thinking of the profits, these fell to the share of his zealous coadjutor Hoibrenk: what he cared for was the opportunity which his nursery garden gave him of promoting Austrian horticulture, both by making it easy for gardeners and amateurs to acquire recently discovered or rare plants, and by shewing practically what nursery gardening on rational principles should be. Hoibrenk exerted himself in Hügel's service in yet other ways: thus, commissioned by Hügel, he undertook travels in Russia, Turkey, Asia Minor, and Egypt, for objects connected with the rearing of flowers and landscape gardening.

Hügel's gardens became a veritable school of floriculture; but it was not specialists only and the learned men who were admitted to them. With a view to the diffusion far and wide of the delights of flower culture, Hügel not only arranged special exhibitions, but also, three times a week, opened his conservatories and his grounds to the public. The Hügel gardens enjoyed an extraordinary popularity, and his Majesty our Emperor in his early youth, before his accession to the throne [with his brother, Maximilian, the late Emperor of Mexico], and other Princes and Princesses of the Imperial house, were frequent visitors to these justly famous gardens[27].

I have already mentioned the transformation the Demidoff gardens in Florence experienced under Hügel's influence and with his co-operation. Many other pleasure-grounds in Austria, Germany, and other countries, owe their artistic arrangement to him: for instance, his own Hietzing gardens, which now indeed no longer represent an integral property[28]; the now greatly reduced Metternich gardens at Vienna[29]; those belonging to the Duke of Nassau at Biberich; parks at S. Petersburg; and the magnificent grounds at Lacroma[30]. These last were laid out in the years 1859 and 1860, when, as has been mentioned, Hügel was living at Vienna, in the interval between his residence at Florence and his residence at Brussels.

What Hügel accomplished for science is almost entirely connected with his travels. His scientific work has been concisely and correctly described as "that of a learned traveller[31]." He promoted geographical inquiry both in the physical direction and in the psychological.

The material collected during his travels was so vast that—as has so often been the case with other industrious explorers—he could not thoroughly turn it to account, despite the extraordinary industry which he bestowed upon it, and the co—operation of the most famous specialists.

Hügel's most important geographical work bears the title of "Cashmere and the Country of the Sikhs[32]." It appeared at Stuttgart, in four volumes richly illustrated with copper-plates and with figures in the text. The first three volumes were issued in quick succession, in the years 1840 and 1841. The publication of the fourth volume was delayed till the year 1844. It is principally concerned with matter of the sort which it is hardest to deal with scientifically, that is to say, the description of coins, natural products, etc., brought home by the traveller.

To judge rightly Hügel’s work on Cashmere, we must take for our standard the knowledge of his days and not that of our own, for which last we have chiefly to thank English men of science. On a comparison of the then existing knowledge of Cashmere with the results of the investigations described in the first three volumes of the above-named book, the unbiassed expert must needs conclude that Hügel added abundantly to the knowledge of the country. The map of Cashmere drawn by compass, with the record of distances which he established on the spot was a distinct advance; and his notes on the climate (especially his numerous temperature readings), on rivers, mountains, and passes, are as valuable as the rich array of data which he gives about useful natural products of the country. The second volume, devoted to the history of Cashmere, is likewise a valuable contribution, and his abundant observations concerning the religion, the manners, and the customs of the inhabitants are no less so. Interspersed throughout are precious remarks which manifest his unceasing love for the world of flowers; for instance, his description of the flowers cultivated in Indian gardens, or observations on the home of the "semper florens" rose, which he locates in the valleys of the Himalayas, as only here had he seen this rose growing wild, "always in the thicket associated with Jasminium grandiflorum."

The most valuable portion of the book on Cashmere is the fourth volume. The first section of this volume, an interesting exposition of the astrology of the Hindoos, is written by Hügel himself. The remaining sections are scientific treatises, written by others, on the objects collected by Hügel, who, like all truly scientific travellers, placed the material which he had collected in the hands of the best known specialists, that they might turn it to scientific account. The coins were described by Josef Arneth, the fishes by J. J. Heckel, the insects by Vincent Kolar and by J. Redtenbacher, prominent specialists, who at the time occupied leading positions in the Vienna Hof Museums. The celebrated Munich zoologist, A. Wagner, described the Mammals of Cashmere from the specimens which Hügel had brought home.

All these monographs were received by the scientific world with unqualified approval; but Hügel's service to science in procuring these rich materials goes far beyond that of a mere collector, for he did not, like so many travellers, collect at random, but used the knowledge of an expert and the insight of a man of science in the formation of his collections. The best specialists, the learned men who dealt with his collections, corroborate this estimate. Thus Josef Arneth in his introduction to the numismatical part of the work says: "Baron Karl von Hügel brought from his great travels in India and Central Asia a remarkable collection of newly discovered coins, representing many dynasties, of which we had, previously, no notion." Not to be wearisome, I will quote but one characteristic remark of the distinguished Austrian ichthyologist Heckel, on Hügel as collector and observing geographer. He says: "The enormous fall of the Jilum river, was first made known by Hügel who followed its course the whole length of the valley, and then through the mountains to Mazafferabad." He further remarks that the collections and observations of Hügel have proved that, in this water with its steep fall, trout are replaced by carp species which assume the habits of trout and even in taste come near to them.

Among the animals and plants brought home by Hügel numerous new species were found. Most of the new animals and many of the newly discovered species of plants were described by specialists. He himself described some of the most remarkable animals, for instance, the goat from Cashmere, Capra falconeri, and not a few of the plants which found their way into the annals of science under names which he gave.

In the year 1850 a detailed and solid article, entitled "The Basin of the Cabul River, and the Mountains between the Hindoo Khoosh and the Sutlej," was published by Hügel in the Memoirs of the Imperial Academy of Sciences of Vienna[33]. In the first part of this article the author seeks to describe the physical conformation of the Cabul basin, and in particular to shew how the south-western declivity of the mightiest upheaval of Asia has shaped itself in its several component parts, and especially as regards its rivers and streams. In the second part of the article Hügel discusses the route of Alexander the Great, and states the result to which he has been led, in part by his historical studies, in part by his personal observations of the scene of the war in Afghanistan. He bestows particular care upon the investigation of the site of the best known of the Afghan towns which were called after Alexander the Great, the often mentioned Alexandria ad Paropamisadas. And if Hügel was not in a position to define the exact site on which this Alexandria stood, he nevertheless successfully refutes the then accepted identifications, and above all shows how the town in question could not, as was then maintained, have occupied the site of the present Cabul, but must probably be looked for in the neighbourhood of the Hindoo Khoosh, and had certainly stood nearer the latter than the former.

It is astonishing that Hügel should have been able to master fields of investigation so remote from one another. His work on Cashmere and that on the Cabul basin are special proofs of this capacity. How far-reaching was his gaze, how deeply he was able to draw from the rich store of his knowledge and his experience, and how peculiarly he was qualified to formulate the results of his investigations, may be gathered from the closing paragraph of his treatise on Cabul. The passage is moreover a characteristic example of his exposition, always lucid, often ornate, though now and again somewhat superabundant. Whilst he understood how to express luminously what he had observed, thought, and felt, he yet was not always able in his writings to control the rich flow of facts, thoughts, and reminiscences. But I will let him speak for himself. In the passage of which I am thinking he says:

"Der menschliche Forschungsgeist wendet seine Thätigkeit dem Unbekannten zu, und ein reiches Feld der Ergründung und des Zusammenstellens von Thatsachen war ihm nun da eröffnet, wo die Grenze der Hindu-Gesittung mit den östlichen Thaten Alexanders zusammentraf: der classische Boden Afghanistans, von welchem die mohammedanischen Eroberer Indien wie wilde Raubthiere überfielen, der westlichste Punkt, bis zu welchem in einverstandener Politik die jetzigen Besitzer des reichsten Erbtheiles der Erde Unterwerfung forderten. Es schien deshalb dem Verfasser keine überflüssige Arbeit, in diesen Blättern zu besprechen, was in dieser Beziehung geleistet wurde, und ihr Wert, wenn sie ihn besitzen, muss deshalb nicht in neuen Theorien und Entdeckungen, sondern in der Würdigung und der Zusammenfassung desjenigen bestehen, was die mühseligen Sammlungen unternehmender Europäer und der unermüdliche Eifer ausgezeichneter Gelehrten zutage förderten. Es möge diese Arbeit jedenfalls ein aufrichtiger Tribut der Bewunderung ihrer Bemühungen von dem Verfasser sein, der vielleicht mehr als irgend jemand die zahllosen Schwierigkeiten beider zu würdigen weiss. Und mögen diese Entdeckungen nach ihrem wahren Werte auch von jenen beurtheilt werden, welche dem Eindringen in die Geheimnisse der Seele und der Natur zu folgen verstehen, den tiefen Forschungen eines Kant, der den menschlichen Geist verfolgte in seiner Thätigkeit, bis zu dem Punkte, wo er sich nur mehr selbst in dem Spiegelbilde seiner Forschung erblickte, eines Liebig, der mit klarem Auge den chemischen Haushalt des Lebens der Natur sowohl als des Menschen zurückführte auf die einfachste Rechnung, eines Leverrier, der in den entferntesten Räumen unseres Sonnensystems den Lauf eines ungekannten Körpers berechnete und einem Freunde schrieb: Dort steht der Planet, mein künstliches Auge ist zu schwach, um wirklich zu sehen, was mein Geist erblickt. Mögen sie jenen Scharfsinn hervorragender Geister mit in ihre Bewunderung einschliessen, welcher, wie Cuvier aus den Fragmenten eines Knochens das ganze Thier erkannte und aus den versteinerten Fuss-stapfen die längst verschollenen Formen eines vorweltlichen Thieres anzugeben vermochte, von welchem nichts als die Abdrücke der Füsse in dem einst weichen Boden auf uns gekommen waren, jenen Scharfsinn, welcher aus ungekannten Schriftzeichen, aus Symbolen und unbedeutenden Fragmenten verlorener Schriftsteller das Dasein von Königreichen, die Reihenfolge der Beherrscher, den Ort und die Dauer, die Regierung, die Gesittung und Religion der Volker und Könige, manchmal ihre Siege und Eroberungen bestimmen konnte, von welchen die Geschichte nicht einmal die Namen aufbewahrt hat und von deren Macht und Herrlichkeit oft nichts übrig geblieben ist als die unscheinbare Kupfermünze, welche vielleicht in den Lumpen eines fast von zwei Jahrtausenden verunglückten Bettlers verborgen war."

A third and larger geographical work appeared at Vienna, in the year 1860, under the title of "The Pacific Ocean and the Spanish Possessions in the East Indian Archipelago[34]." This work is unfortunately but little known, for, as it was privately printed and the number of copies issued was limited, it could not have a large circulation.

Though Hügel also contributed several papers about his travels to the Royal Geographical Society of London, and published others of a geographical character at the Natural History Congresses held at Prague in 1838, and at Graz in 1843, only a part of his observations has thus been turned to scientific account. There can be no doubt that this represents but a small portion of his observations, and that many an unregarded treasure still lies hidden in the twelve thousand memoranda slips which he brought home from his travels.

The amazing energy with which Hügel collected during his travels, is shewn by the gigantic material which he brought home, and which has passed into the possession of the Hof Museums of Natural History and Art, and of the Hof Library[35]. These collections include thirty-two thousand objects of natural history, twelve thousand and forty-nine coins, nine hundred and twenty-eight ethnological objects (including sixty-three idols and temple utensils of silver, bronze, and ivory), forty musical instruments, many personal ornaments as well as numerous scarce manuscripts, and the already mentioned twelve thousand memoranda slips. Many of these objects, as already mentioned, received scientific treatment in his work on Cashmere.

About the time of the above-mentioned publications the plants collected by Hügel on the Swan River in West Australia were described by Endlicher conjointly with Bentham, Fenzl, and Schott. Other plants brought home by Hügel were dealt with by Endlicher alone[36]. Since then the treasures collected by him and incorporated in the Hof collections have been drawn upon again and again, but for a long time to come they will continue to supply facts for scientific specialists.

How greatly the Viennese collections were enriched by his specimens may be seen from what Fitzinger says about them in his history of the Royal Natural History Museums[37]. "Through these accessions all the sections of the natural history cabinet were very considerably enriched, as there were added not only a large number of mammals (some of them rare), fourteen hundred birds, very many reptiles and fishes, a great mass of insects, spiders, crustacea, shells, and zoophytes, as well as many radiata, soft molluscs and annelids, but also an exceptionally comprehensive collection of plants, fruits, and specimens of wood."

I cannot take upon myself to estimate Hügel’s diplomatic work. I must be content to point to Alfred von Reumont's sketch of the diplomatic career of Hügel: a memoir written warm-heartedly, but which as I have been assured on good authority is always within the bounds of truth and justice[38]. Reumont was Prussian minister at Florence at the time when Hügel was Austrian ambassador there, so that he had an opportunity of observing Hügel very closely. According to Reumont's judgment Hügel’s diplomatic career was throughout an honourable one, and his steady conciliatory bearing won him respect even from those who opposed the policy which he had to represent. Reumont notes in his praise that he carried through with ability and success the negotiations which preceded the restoration of the Central Italian Duchies. On the other hand, Reumont thinks he did not clearly foresee the political situation which was preparing itself in Italy at the end of the fifties.

No one can survey Hügel's life-work without astonishment at the great diversity of his interests and occupations, at the energy with which he applied himself, often simultaneously, to subjects remote from one another, and at the rich harvest which his untiring labour brought to maturity. In the department of horticulture, Hügel has carried the torch of progress as no one else has done within the limits of our fatherland. Though in the course of time the strongest impulses seem to pass away, so that it is only the retrospect of the historian which keeps before the memory of a new generation the forces which moved its predecessor, yet traces of Hügel's activity remain in evidence to the present day. Numerous sub-tropical plants, introduced by him, adorn the gardens of the world; lovely pleasure-grounds, in different places in Europe, testify to his artistic taste; the Horticultural Society of Vienna gratefully acknowledges him as its creator, and honours in him the highest example of the cultivator and the friend of flowers and of gardens. This bright example will give the Society strength to overcome the untoward circumstances under which, through no fault of its own, it now suffers, and to follow with renewed vigour that lofty path which its founder traced out for it.

With regard to his activity as investigator and writer in the most different departments of geography, it should be noted in particular that his contemporaries, especially the English, did not stint in their acknowledgment of his merits[39]. If the geographical literature of our day considers him but little, the reason is that in course of time subsequent discoveries have left many results behind them. But his activity, like all other activity, must be judged from the standpoint of the time to which it belongs; and I am firmly convinced that history will not withhold its acknowledgments to him in this field also. Then, quite apart from this, there is the great service which Hügel rendered in Zoology, Botany, and Ethnography, as well as in sciences auxiliary to history, by his systematically conceived and truly magnificent collections, which not only adorn our museums, and form a not inconsiderable portion of their treasures, but also in the hands of prominent specialists have rendered lasting service to science. Their writings shew what a large number of species of animals as well as of plants were discovered by Hügel.

Recognition did not fail Hügel even in his lifetime. His diplomatic services were rewarded with a Privy Councillorship, the Grand Cross of the Order of Leopold, and a 1st Class of the Order of the Iron Crown. On the strength of his scientific labours he was elected an actual member of the Academy of Sciences of Vienna on its foundation [in 1847], a high distinction which placed him in the first rank of the scientific celebrities of the Empire. In 1849, the Royal Geographical Society of London presented him with the Patron's Medal Ob terras reclusas[40], and elected him an honorary fellow; and in 1848, the University of Oxford conferred on him their D.C.L. honoris causâ. Foreign orders and diplomas he received in abundance[41]. Regarding these distinctions, I will only add that all prominent Horticultural Societies of the world conferred on Hügel their Honorary Fellowship, or, in other ways distinguished him in the highest manner possible, and that numerous species of plants and animals were named after him[42].

If the rare gifts of such a man fascinate the mind, so does his noble personality completely captivate the heart. Everyone who knew Hügel personally speaks of his kindness, of his gentleness, his winning manner, and his consideration—a quality which he shewed in his demeanour even to the least. As he loved the world of flowers, so he loved budding humanity: after arduous labour he found refreshment in the child's world; and the little ones would cling lovingly and admiringly to one who delighted them by planning games, or telling fanciful fairy stories[43].

Reumont in his description of Hügel's diplomatic career, gives a picture of him as he was when they were both at Florence. He says: "Hügel's bearing is always conciliatory, his behaviour considerate, his judgment just, and his personal charm was in harmony with these qualities. He was a man of thoroughly noble mind, of hearty benevolence, of wide knowledge of the world, of rich, many-sided culture, of social gifts, of winning exterior—a thorough 'gentleman'."[44]

Dependence upon religion is a characteristic of the Hügel family. In Charles, deep religious feeling blended with charity of heart and purity of mind, to form the basis from which sprang his unswerving sense of duty, his unselfishness and his love of his fellow-creatures.

But through this tender, kindly and lovable nature, there ran a strong vein of manly fidelity, and dauntless determination when a noble cause or a law of humanity was in question. His relations towards Prince Metternich had not been untroubled, and a deep sorrow of which the powerful Chancellor was the occasion had caused him to hasten his journey and to absent himself from Europe for years[45]. Despite of this Hügel maintained for Metternich [an old friend of his family], whom he had to thank for furthering on several occasions his projects of public usefulness, a truly heroic fidelity. For when the Prince suddenly fell from his height, was deserted by all—even by those whom he had raised and promoted, and was hated and persecuted by the people—it was Charles von Hügel who, at the risk of his own life, took the Prince and Princess in his carriage through the streets of the disturbed capital, and procured for him temporary security. It was he who discovered for the Prince what at the time seemed to all concerned an assured resting-place at Prince Liechtenstein’s Castle of Felsberg. Hügel conveyed them thither,—as may be supposed not without danger,—and when the representatives of the commune required the Prince—old, sick, and broken-down—to leave within twenty—four hours, Hügel devotedly helped to cover the further flight to England; and from the time of their arrival there until he returned to Vienna, the Chancellor had his assistance. In the papers left by the Prince there is one written by his wife, Princess Mélanie, in which she describes the anxious days of the flight, and dwells on the loyalty and devotion with which Charles von Hügel stood by them both[46].

Yet another strong trait in Hügel’s character must be noted, his glowing, self-sacrificing love of his country. The disorders of the State, after the events of 1848, caused him quickly to mature the resolve to renounce all the horticultural and scientific tastes which had taken root so deeply in his heart, and, after a pause of twenty-five years, once again to place all his powers at the service of the State. "This fulfilment of a duty," he writes in his book on the Pacific Ocean, "made me bid farewell to my property near Vienna, the villa built to suit my fancy. There I had hoped to end my days in tranquil work, surrounded by the great remembrances of my stirring life, and by the charming witnesses of my wanderings, the plants I had brought home." But duty called him to take once more to affairs. "What was important," he says elsewhere, in the same work, "was to raise a barrier against the dissolution of society, to prevent the break-up of all that was great and noble, of all that had been shaped and hallowed in the course of centuries, that is to say, to serve justice and order,—in one word, to serve the Emperor[47]."

The bust of Charles von Hügel which has just been unveiled will remind numberless visitors of a great promoter of horticulture; but he who has studied more closely the abundant activity of this remarkable man, and has come to know the core of his personality, will see in him, as well, an ardent enquirer, a model of the noblest manhood and of the deepest patriotism.

  1. Known as the "Cottagepark," Hietzing.
  2. See Notes (3).
  3. See Notes (4).
  4. See Notes (5).
  5. Concommissär der Reichsversammlung. This office he held from 1794 till August 1806, when owing to the action of the Emperor (since 1804. Francis I of Austria) the Holy Roman Empire ceased to exist. See Notes (6). A. v. H.
  6. See Notes (7).
  7. In the 5th Regiment of Hussars ('The Prince Regent of England's Own'). A. v. H.
  8. Armeekreus: see List of Distinctions
  9. See Notes (8)
  10. The Nilgiri Hills.
  11. See Notes (9)
  12. My mother's impression is that this pretty Indian anecdote concerning herself and my father is not well founded, owing to her early age at this time in question. A. v. H.
  13. Fullerton: In Memoriam. See pp. 53—60 of these Memoirs.
  14. No. 11 Boulevard de l'0bservatoire, a house rented from Monsieur C. A. Beriot, the violinist, and which, during 1850, was occupied by Prince Metternich and his family. A. v. H.
  15. My father had left England in the company of my mother and sister, and of Miss Redmayne, my mother's school companion and lifelong friend: my brother and I had by some weeks preceded them to Vienna. A. v. H.
  16. Which post he has held since Nov. 11, 1883, the year of the foundation of the Museum.
  17. At Boscombe, Bournemouth, March 29, 1901, aged forty-three. R. I. P. (A. v. H.)
  18. See Notes (10).
  19. See Notes (11).
  20. Fenzl: Darstellung d. Entstehens u. Wirkens d. k. k. Gartenbaugesellschaft.
  21. Wurzbach: Biographisches Lexikon, Vol. IX, pp. 402–4; Reumont: Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung, 15 June 1870; Fullerton, p. 10; Festschrift der k. k. zool. bot. Gesellschaft, 1901, p. 38.
  22. See Notes (12)
  23. Römpler: Gartenbaulexicon, p. 398.
  24. From information kindly supplied by Herr Umlauf, the Director of the Royal Gardens.
  25. See Notes (13).
  26. Wurzbach (p. 258) gives the name as Hooibrenk. A. v. H.
  27. Fullerton
  28. See Notes (14).
  29. Metternich's nachgelassene Papiere, Vol. vi, p. 77 (note 30).
  30. Lacroma, an islet in the Gulf of Trieste, was at this time the property of the Archduchess Charlotte. My father was also largely responsible for the laying out of Miramare—the seat near Trieste of the ill-fated Archduke Maximilian (afterwards Emperor of Mexico). A. v. H.
  31. Almanach der k. k. Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna, 1871, p. 115.
  32. Kaschmir und das Reich der Siek. Von Carl Freiherrn von Hügel. Stuttgart, 1840–1844, 4 vols., 8vo.
  33. Historical-philosophical Section, Vols. II and III
  34. Der Stille Ocean und die Spanischen Besitzungen im Ostindischen Archipel. Von Karl Freiherrn von Hügel (als Manuscript gedruckt), Wien, 1860, 8vo.
  35. see Notes (15).
  36. Endlicher, Bentham, Fenzl et Schott: Enumeratio plantarum quas in Novae-Hollandiae ora austro-occidentali ad fluvium Cygnorum et in sinu regis Georgii collegit Carolus liber Baro de Huegel. Vindobonae, 1837.
    Endlicher, Stirpium Australasicarum Herbarii Huegeliani decades tres. Vindobonae, 1838.
  37. Sitzungsberichte d. k. Akademie d. Wissenschaften, Vols. 81 and 82.
  38. Reumont: Augsburger Allgem.Zeitung, June 15, 1870; and Biographische Denkblätter. Leipzig, 1878. An English version of the latter memoir will be found on pages 27-45 of these Memoirs.
  39. See Notes (16).
  40. See President's Address, pages 63-68 of these Memoirs.
  41. See List of Distinctions conferred upon Charles von Hügel, p. xix.
  42. See Notes (17).
  43. Fullerton.
  44. loc. cit.
  45. Reumont.
  46. Metternich, l. c.: Vols. vii, viii; and Friedrich v. Hügel, National Review, 1883.
  47. See Notes (18).