Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
709
MARIAZELL—MARIE AMÉLIE THÉRESE

Joseph II., in her arms, and so worked on their feelings that they shouted Moriamur pro rege nostro Maria Theresia, is only mythically true. But during the delicate negotiations which were required to secure the support of the Hungarian nobles she undoubtedly did appeal to them with passionate eloquence, and, we may believe, with a very pardonable sense of the advantage she obtained from her youth, her beauty and her sex. Her beauty, inherited from her mother, was of an open and noble German type. The official portrait by Muytens, engraved by Petit, gives a less convincing impression that an excellent chalk drawing of the head by Gabriel Mattei. In the conflict between her sense of what was morally just and her sense of duty to the state she laid herself open to the scoffing taunt of Frederick of Prussia, who said that in the first partition of Poland elle pleurait et prenait toujours. But the king of Prussia’s taunt is deprived of its sting by the almost incredible candour of her own words to Kaunitz, that if she was to lose her reputation before God and man for respecting the rights of others it must not be for a small advantage—if, in fact, Austria was to share in the plunder of Poland, she was to be consoled for the distress caused to her feelings by the magnitude of her share of the booty. There was no hypocrisy in the tears of the empress. Her intellectual honesty was as perfect as Frederick’s own, and she was as incapable as he was of endeavouring to blind herself to the quality of her own acts. No ruler was ever more loyal to a conception of duty. Maria Theresa considered herself first and foremost as the heiress of the rights of the house of Austria. Therefore, when her inheritance was assailed at the beginning of her reign, she fought for it with every weapon an honest woman could employ, and for years she cherished the hope of recovering the lost province of Silesia, conquered by Frederick. Her practical sense showed her the necessity of submitting to spoliation when she was overpowered. She accepted the peace of Berlin in 1742 in order to have a free hand against her Bavarian enemy, the emperor Charles VII. (q.v.). When Frederick renewed the war she accepted the struggle cheerfully, because she hoped to recover her own. Down to the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748 she went on fighting for Silesia or its equivalent. In the years following the peace she applied herself to finding allies in France and Russia who would help her to recover Silesia. Here, as later in the case of Poland, she subordinated her feelings to her duty to the state. Though she denied that she had ever written directly to Madame de Pompadour, it is certain that she allowed her ministers to make use of the favourite’s influence over the French king. When fate decided against her in the Seven Years’ War she bowed to the inevitable, and was thenceforward a resolute advocate of peace.

In her internal government she showed herself anxious to promote the prosperity of her people, and to give more unity to an administration made up by the juxtaposition of many states and races with different characters and constitutions. Her instincts, like those of her enemy Frederick and her son Joseph II., were emphatically absolutist. She suspended the meetings of the estates in most parts of her dominions. She was able to do so because the mass of her subjects found her hand much lighter than that of the privileged classes who composed these bodies. Education, trade, religious toleration, the emancipation of the agricultural population from feudal burdens—all had her approval up to a certain point. She would favour them, but on the distinct condition that nothing was to be done to weaken the bonds of authority. She took part in the suppression of the Jesuits, and she resisted the pope in the interest of the state. Her methods were those of her cautious younger son, Leopold II., and not of her eldest son and immediate successor, Joseph II. She did not give her consent even to the suppression of torture in legal procedure without hesitation, lest the authority of the law should be weakened. Her caution had its reward, for whatever she did was permanently gained, whereas her successor in his boundless zeal for reform brought his empire to the verge of a general rebellion.

In her private life Maria Theresa was equally the servant of the state and the sovereign of all about her. She was an affectionate wife to her husband Francis I.; but she was always the queen of Hungary and Bohemia and archduchess of Austria, like her ancestress, Isabella the Catholic, who never forgot, nor allowed her husband to forget, that she was “proprietary queen” of Castile and Leon. She married her daughters in the interest of Austria, and taught them not to forget their people and their father’s house. In the case of Marie Antoinette (q.v.), who married the dauphin, afterwards Louis XVI., she gave an extraordinary proof of her readiness to subordinate everything to the reason of state. She instructed her daughter to show a proper respect to her husband’s grandfather, Louis XV., by behaving with politeness to his mistresses, in order that the alliance between the two courts might run no risk. The signing of the peace of Teschen, which averted a great war with Prussia, on the 13th of May 1779, was the last great act of her reign, and so Maria Theresa judged it to be in a letter to Prince Kaunitz; she said that she had now finished her life’s journey and could sing a Te Deum, for she had secured the repose of her people at whatever cost to herself. The rest, she said, would not last long. Her fatal illness developed in the autumn of the following year, and she died on the 28th of November 1780. When she lay painfully on her deathbed her son Joseph said to her, “You are not at ease,” and her last words were the answer, “I am sufficiently at my ease to die.”

See A. von Arneth, Geschichte Maria Theresas (Vienna, 1863–1879) and J. F. Bright, Maria Theresa (London, 1897); also the article Austria.


MARIAZELL, a village of Austria, in Styria, 89 m. N. of Graz. Pop. (1900), 1499. It is picturesquely situated in the valley of the Salza, amid the north Styrian Alps. Its entire claim to notice lies in the fact that it is the most frequented sanctuary in Austria, being visited annually by about 200,000 pilgrims. The object of veneration is a miracle-working image of the Virgin, carved in lime-tree wood, and about 18 in. high. This was presented to the place in 1157, and is now enshrined in a chapel lavishly adorned with objects of silver and other costly materials. The large church of which the chapel forms part was erected in 1644 as an expansion of a smaller church built by Louis I., king of Hungary, after a victory over the Turks in 1363. In the vicinity of Mariazell is the pretty Alpine lake of Erlafsee.

See M. M. Rabenlehrer, Mariazell, Österreichs Loreto (Vienna, 1891); and O. Eigner, Geschichte des aufgeshobenen Benedictinerstiftes Mariazell (Vienna, 1900).


MARIE AMÉLIE THÉRÈSE (1782–1866), queen of Louis Philippe, king of the French, was the daughter of Ferdinand IV., king of Naples, and the archduchess Maria Carolina, daughter of the empress Maria Theresa, and belonged to the house of Bourbon. She was born at Caserta, on the 26th of April 1782, and received a careful education which developed the naturally pious and honourable disposition that earned for her in the family circle the nickname of La Santa. Driven from Naples in 1798, the Neapolitan royal family fled to Palermo, and the years from 1800 to 1802 were spent by Marie Amélie with her mother at the Austrian court. In 1806 they were again in flight before the armies of Masséna, and it was during the second residence of her father’s court at Palermo that she met the exiled Louis Philippe, then duke of Orleans, whom she married in November 1809. Returning to France in 1814, the duke and duchess of Orleans had barely established themselves in the Palais Royal in Paris when the Hundred Days drove them into exile. Marie Amélie took refuge with her four children in England, where she spent two years at Orleans House, Twickenham. Again in France in 1817, her life at Neuilly until 1828 was the happiest period of her existence. Neither then nor at any other time did she take any active share in politics; but she was not without indirect influence on affairs, because her strong royalist and legitimist traditions prevented the court from including her in the suspicion with which her husband’s liberal views were regarded. Her attention was absorbed by the care and education of her numerous family, even after the revolution of 1830 had made her queen of the French, a position accepted by her with forebodings of disaster justified by her early experience of