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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/286

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M£TT£RNICH


246


METTERNICH


It constantly required all of Metternicli's most bril- liant qualities to preserve harmony. One of his favourite means was to provide festivities of all sorts. They lia\e often been criticized as if they had been the object of the congress, and not a means to attain its ends. Metternich succeedeil finally in bridging over every ditficulty. The Kmperor Francis expressed his satisfaction with Metternicli's services in .securing peace and onler in Europe, and especially in rest oring to Aus- tria its ancient pre-eminence. The rearrangement of ticrman and Italian utTairs gave but Utile .satisfac- tion to either side, but henceforth Metternich was the leading statesman of Europe. For the setllemeni of quest ions still pending and ot her tlillicuHies that aro.se, the following congresses were held: Ai\-la-('hai)elle, 1S18; Karlsbad (.a conference of miMist<Ts), ISllI; Vienna, ISJO; Troppau, 1,S20; Laibach, LS21; and \'erona, 1822. The Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle, at which the monarchs of Austria, Prussia, and Russia were personally present, devoted its attention to the adjustment of the relations of the powers to France, though Metternich also emphasized the dan- gers arising from demagogic agitation, ami expressed his suspicions tliat its focus was in Germany. When, not long after, the Russian coimcillor, Kotzebue, was assassinated by the student, Sand, Metternich in twenty-four conferences of (ierman ministers at Karls- bad took mea.sures to put an end to the political troubles in Germany. All publications of less than twenty folios were to l)e subject to censorship; govern- ment oHicers were to be placed at the universities to supervise them; in the several states the constitutions providing for diets in accordance with ancient usage were to be retained; representative constitutions were to be suppressed. Despite England's and Russia's resistance, Metternich at the two succeeding con- gresses successfully carrieil his proposition to intervene in behalf of the Italian states, which w-ere threatened and hard pressed by the revolution. This measure brought upon Austria the hatred of the Italian people. Finally Austria and Russia split on the ques- tion of freeing Greece from the Turkish yoke, Austria showing herself to be a decided friend of the Turks. The result was a blow to Metternich's policy. He had dropped from the high-water mark of his influence. Thereafter Russia's influence increased.

Since the death of Prince Kaunitz (1794) the posi- tion of house, court, and state chancellor had been vacant, but in 1821 Metternich was invested with that office. " Your deserts have been increased by the un- interrupted zeal, the ability and fearlessness with which, especially in the last two years, you devoted yourself to the presentation of general order and the triumph of law over the disorderly doings of disturbers of the peace in the states at home and abroad." Un- der the Emperor Ferdinand I after 1835, the direction of affairs, after the emperor himself, was in the hands of a council consisting of the Archduke Ludwig (uncle of the emperor), the state chancellor Metternich, and the court chancellor Kolowrat. Metternicli's influence over Austria's internal affairs was less than is generally supposed. Count Hartig, who was well informed, de- clares (Geschichte der Revolution, p. 19): " In matters of internal administration the prince was seldom heard, and was purpo.sely kept away from them." In this department after 1826, it was the minister Count Kolowrat whose influence was decisive. Many envied Metternich las pre-eminence. The aristocracy always saw the foreigner in him, and others looked with re- sentment upon the preferenc(! shown foreigners in the state chancery (Friedrich Gentz, Adam Miiller, Fried- rich .Schlegel, .larke). Grillparzer, director of archives in the Hofkammer, expre.ssed himself very harshly on that point in 1839, though it must be noted that Grill- parzer hail been highly incen.sed. In all these matters Kolowrat had the advantage of Metternich. He was even considered capable of granting, or, at least, of pre-


paring a constitution, and was thoughtr to be inclined to do so.

As time passed " the Metternich system " came to be held more and more responsible for everything unpleasant, and its author to be hated and at- tacketl. His own acts show the injustice done the prince in this regard. To quote from his " Political 'Testament": "To me the word freedom has not the value of a starting-point, but of an actual goal to be striven for. The word order designates the starting- point . It is only on order that freedom can be ba.sed. \\'ith()ut order as a foundation the cry for freedom is 111)1 hing more than the endeavour of some party or other for an end it has in view. When actually car- ried out in practice, that cry for freedom will inevi- tably express itself in tyranny. At all times and in all situations I was a man of order, yet my endeavour was always for true and not for pretended liberty." These words are the key to t he understanding and apprecia- tion of Metternich's actions.

Two more passages characteristic of the great states- man's temper of mind may be cited: " .admirers of the press honour it with the title, 'representative of public opinion', though everything written in the papers is nothing but the expression of those who write. Will the value of being the expression of public opinion ever be attributed to the publications of a Government, even of a Republican Government? Surely not! Yet every obscure journalist claims this value for his own products. What a confusion of ideas!" No less just and important a remark is the foUowuig on state religion: "The downfall of em- pires always directly depends upon the spread of un- belief. For this very reason religious belief, the first of virtues, is the strongest power. It alone curbs at- tack and makes resistance irresistible. Religion can- not decline in a nation without causing that nation's strength also to decline, and the fall of states does not proceed in arithmetical progression according to the law of falling bodies, but rapidly leads to tlestruction." When on 13 March, 1848, the storm of the revolution raged in Vienna, the state chancellor, who preferred to sacrifice himself rather than others, immediately re- signed his position. He went to England, Brussels, and Schloss Johannisberg. From the last place he re- turned to Vienna in 1851, and eight years later died in his palace on the Rennweg at the age of eighty-six.

In Europe Napoleon, Metternich, and Bismarck set their stamp upon the nineteenth century. All three of them lived to see their own fall. Metter- nich remained the longest in the leading position of "coachman of Europe". Nothing better character- izes the great statesman than what he repeatedly said, proud and aristocratic as always, to Baron A. von Hubner a few weeks before his death : " I was a rock of order" {un rocher d'ordre). Metternich married three times: in 1795 Maria Eleonora, granddaughter of Princess Kaunitz, by whom he had seven children; in 1827 Maria Antonia, Baroness von Leykam, by whom he had a son, Richard Klemens; and in 1831 Countess Melanie Zichy, by whom he had three children. The only one of his sons that survived him was Richard Klemens, who published: "Aus Metternichs nach- gelassenen Papieren " (8 vols., Vienna, 1880-841 . The first two volumes contain Metternich's biography. In the third volume begins the "Schriften-Sammlung" arranged according to years as follows: vol. Ill, 1816- 22; vol. IV, 1823-29; vol. V, 1830-35; vol. VI, 1835- 43; vol. VII, 1844-48. Vol. VII contains "MeinRuck- tritt", pp. 617-32, "Mein politisches Testament", pp. 63.3-42, and "Ehren, Wiirden, und Auszeichnungen", pp. 643-58. Vol. VIII, 1848-.59, contains: "Aus dem Tagebuch der Furstin Melanie" (pp. 3-141), Met- ternich's letters to his daughter Leontine (1848-58) (np. 142-282) . letters to Baron Koller in London, Count Buol in Vienna, and others (1849-,'58) (pp. 283-42'J), supplements to the Princess Melanie's diary, a coUec-