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CHARLES EDWARD

“enlightened despots” of the 18th century; for from the first he had realized that the powers of the prince to play “earthly providence” were strictly limited. His aim, then, was to educate his people to work out their own political and social salvation, the object of education being in his view, as he explained later to the dismay of Metternich and his school, to help men to “independence of judgment.” To this end Herder was summoned to Weimar to reform the educational system; and it is little wonder that, under a patron so enlightened, the university of Jena attained the zenith of its fame, and Weimar became the intellectual centre of Germany.

Meanwhile, in the affairs of Germany and of Europe the character of Karl August gave him an influence out of all proportion to his position as a sovereign prince. He had early faced the problem presented by the decay of the Empire, and began to work for the unity of Germany. The plans of the emperor Joseph II., which threatened to absorb a great part of Germany into the heterogeneous Habsburg monarchy, threw him into the arms of Prussia, and he was the prime mover in the establishment of the league of princes (Furstenbund) in 1785, by which, under the leadership of Frederick the Great, Joseph’s intrigues were frustrated. He was, however, under no illusion as to the power of Austria, and he wisely refused the offer of the Hungarian crown, made to him in 1787 by Prussia at the instance of the Magyar malcontents, with the dry remark that he had no desire to be another “Winter King.” In 1788 Karl August took service in the Prussian army as major-general in active command of a regiment. As such he was present, with Goethe, at the cannonade of Valmy in 1792, and in 1794 at the siege of Mainz and the battles of Pirmasenz (September 14) and Kaiserslautern (October 28-30). After this, dissatisfied with the attitude of the powers, he resigned; but rejoined on the accession of his friend King Frederick William III. to the Prussian throne. The disastrous campaign of Jena (1806) followed; on the 14th of October, the day after the battle, Weimar was sacked; and Karl August, to prevent the confiscation of his territories, was forced to join the Confederation of the Rhine. From this time till after the Moscow campaign of 1812 his contingent fought under the French flag in all Napoleon’s wars. In 1813, however, he joined the Grand Alliance, and at the beginning of 1814 took the command of a corps of 30,000 men operating in the Netherlands.

At the congress of Vienna Karl August was present in person, and protested vainly against the narrow policy of the powers in confining their debates to the “rights of the princes” to the exclusion of the “rights of the people.” His services in the war of liberation were rewarded with an extension of territory and the title of grand-duke; but his liberal attitude had already made him suspect, and his subsequent action brought him still further into antagonism to the reactionary powers. He was the first of the German princes to grant a liberal constitution to his state under Article XIII. of the Act of Confederation (May 5, 1816); and his concession of full liberty to the press made Weimar for a while the focus of journalistic agitation against the existing order. Metternich dubbed him contemptuously “der grosse Bursche” for his patronage of the “revolutionary” Burschenschaften; and the celebrated “festival” held at the Wartburg by his permission in 1818, though in effect the mildest of political demonstrations, brought down upon him the wrath of the great powers. Karl August, against his better judgment, was compelled to yield to the remonstrances of Prussia, Austria and Russia; the liberty of the press was again restricted in the grand-duchy, but, thanks to the good understanding between the grand-duke and his people, the régime of the Carlsbad Decrees pressed less heavily upon Weimar than upon other German states.

Karl August died on the 14th of June 1828. Upon his contemporaries of the most various types his personality made a great impression. Karl von Dalberg, the prince-primate, who owed the coadjutorship of Mainz to the duke’s friendship, said that he had never met a prince “with so much understanding, character, frankness and true-heartedness”; the Milanese, when he visited their city, called him the “uomo principe”; and Goethe himself said of him “he had the gift of discriminating intellects and characters and setting each one in his place. He was inspired by the noblest good-will, the purest humanity, and with his whole soul desired only what was best. There was in him something of the divine. He would gladly have wrought the happiness of all mankind. And finally, he was greater than his surroundings,... Everywhere he himself saw and judged, and in all circumstances his surest foundation was in himself.” He left two sons: Charles Frederick (d. 1853), by whom he was succeeded, and Bernhard, duke of Saxe-Weimar (1792–1862), a distinguished soldier, who, after the congress of Vienna, became colonel of a regiment in the service of the king of the Netherlands, distinguished himself as commander of the Dutch troops in the Belgian campaign of 1830, and from 1847 to 1850 held the command of the forces in the Dutch East Indies. Bernhard’s son, William Augustus Edward, known as Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar (1823–1902), entered the British army, served with much distinction in the Crimean War, and became colonel of the 1st Life Guards and a field marshal; in 1851 he contracted a morganatic marriage with Lady Augusta Gordon-Lennox (d. 1904), daughter of the 5th duke of Richmond and Gordon, who in Germany received the title of countess of Dornburg, but was granted the rank of princess in Great Britain by royal decree in 1866. Karl August’s only daughter, Caroline, married Frederick Louis, hereditary grand-duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and was the mother of Helene (1814–1858), wife of Ferdinand, duke of Orleans, eldest son of King Louis Philippe.

Karl August’s correspondence with Goethe was published in 2 vols. at Weimar in 1863. See the biography by von Wegele in the Allgem. deutsche Biographie.


CHARLES EDWARD [Charles Edward Louis Philip Casimir Stuart] (1720–1788), English prince, called the “Young Pretender” and also the “Young Chevalier,” was born at Rome on December 31st, 1720. He was the grandson of King James II. of England and elder son of James, the “Old Pretender,” by whom (as James III.) he was created at his birth prince of Wales, the title he bore among the English Jacobites during his father’s lifetime. The young prince was educated at his father’s miniature court in Rome, with James Murray, Jacobite earl of Dunbar, for his governor, and under various tutors, amongst whom were the learned Chevalier Ramsay, Sir Thomas Sheridan and the abbé Légoux. He quickly became conversant with the English, French and Italian languages, but all his extant letters written in English appear singularly ill-spelt and illiterate. In 1734 his cousin, the duke of Liria, afterwards duke of Berwick, who was proceeding to join Don Carlos in his struggle for the crown of Naples, passed through Rome. He offered to take Charles on his expedition, and the boy of thirteen, having been appointed general of artillery by Don Carlos, shared with credit the dangers of the successful siege of Gaeta.

The handsome and accomplished youth, whose doings were eagerly reported by the English ambassador at Florence and by the spy, John Walton, at Rome, was now introduced by his father and the pope to the highest Italian society, which he fascinated by the frankness of his manner and the grace and dignity of his bearing. In 1737 James despatched his son on a tour through the chief Italian cities, that his education as a prince and man of the world might be completed. The distinction with which he was received on his journey, the royal honours paid to him in Venice, and the jealous interference of the English ambassador in regard to his reception by the grand-duke of Tuscany, show how great was the respect in which the exiled house was held at this period by foreign Catholic powers, as well as the watchful policy of England in regard to its fortunes. The Old Pretender himself calculated upon foreign aid in his attempts to restore the monarchy of the Stuarts; and the idea of rebellion unassisted by invasion or by support of any kind from abroad was one which it was left for Charles Edward to endeavour to realize. Of all the European nations France was the one on which Jacobite hopes mainly rested, and the warm