Louis Antoine, Duke of Enghien

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Louis Antoine
Duke of Enghien
Louis-Antoine de Bourbon-Conde.png
Born(1772-08-02)2 August 1772
Château de Chantilly, France
Died21 March 1804(1804-03-21) (aged 31)
Château de Vincennes, France
Burial
Spouse Charlotte de Rohan
Full name
Louis Antoine Henri de Bourbon
House House of Bourbon
Father Louis Henri de Bourbon, Prince de Condė
Mother Bathilde d'Orléans
Religion Roman Catholicism
Signature Signature of Louis Antoine Henri de Bourbon, Duke of Enghien in August 1785.png

Louis Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Enghien (duc d'Enghien pronounced [dɑ̃ɡɛ̃] ) (Louis Antoine Henri; 2 August 1772 – 21 March 1804) was a relative of the Bourbon monarchs of France. More famous for his death than for his life, he was executed on charges of aiding Britain and plotting against France. Royalty across Europe were shocked and dismayed at his execution. Tsar Alexander I of Russia was especially alarmed, and decided to curb Napoleon's power. [1]

House of Bourbon European royal house of French origin

The House of Bourbon is a European royal house of French origin, a branch of the Capetian dynasty. Bourbon kings first ruled France and Navarre in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Spanish Bourbon dynasty held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma. Spain and Luxembourg currently have monarchs of the House of Bourbon.

Alexander I of Russia Emperor of Russia

Alexander I was the Emperor of Russia between 1801 and 1825. He was the eldest son of Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg. Alexander was the first king of Congress Poland, reigning from 1815 to 1825, as well as the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland, reigning from 1809 to 1825.

Contents

Biography

The Duke was the only son of Louis Henri de Bourbon and Bathilde d'Orléans. [2] As a member of the reigning House of Bourbon, he was a prince du sang. He was born at the Château de Chantilly, the country residence of the Princes of Condé - a title he was born to inherit. He was given the title Duke of Enghien from birth, his father already being the Duke of Bourbon and the heir of the Prince of Condé, the Duke of Bourbon being the Heir apparent of Condé.

Bathilde dOrléans French noblewoman

Bathilde d'Orléans was a French princess of the blood of the House of Orléans. She was sister of Philippe Égalité, the mother of the executed Duke of Enghien and aunt of Louis Philippe I, King of the French. Married to the young Duke of Enghien, a distant cousin, she was always known as the Duchess of Bourbon following the birth of her son. She was known as Citoyenne Vérité during the French Revolution.

<i>Prince du sang</i>

A prince du sang is a person legitimately descended in dynastic line from any of a realm's hereditary monarchs. Historically, the term has been used to refer to men and women descended in the male line from a sovereign, although as absolute primogeniture has become more common in monarchies, those with succession rights through female descent are more likely than in the past to be accorded the princely title.

Château de Chantilly castle in Chantilly, France

The Château de Chantilly is a historic château located in the town of Chantilly, France, about 50 kilometers north of Paris.

His mother's full name was Louise Marie Thérèse Bathilde d'Orléans; she was the only surviving daughter of Louis Philippe d'Orléans (grandson of the Regent Philippe d'Orléans ) and Louise Henriette de Bourbon. His uncle was the future Philippe Égalité and he was thus a first cousin of the future Louis-Philippe I, King of the French. He was also doubly descended from Louis XIV through his legitimated daughters, Mademoiselle de Blois and Mademoiselle de Nantes.

Louis Philippe I, Duke of Orléans French duke

Louis Philippe d'Orléans known as le Gros, was a French prince, a member of a cadet branch of the House of Bourbon, the dynasty then ruling France. The First Prince of the Blood after 1752, he was the most senior male at the French court after the immediate royal family. He was the father of Philippe Égalité. He greatly augmented the already huge wealth of the House of Orléans.

A regent is a person appointed to govern a state because the monarch is a minor, is absent or is incapacitated. The rule of a regent or regents is called a regency. A regent or regency council may be formed ad hoc or in accordance with a constitutional rule. "Regent" is sometimes a formal title. If the regent is holding his position due to his position in the line of succession, the compound term prince regent is often used; if the regent of a minor is his mother, she is often referred to as "queen regent".

Philippe II, Duke of Orléans member of the royal family of France, Regent of the Kingdom from 1715 to 1723

Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, was a member of the royal family of France and served as Regent of the Kingdom from 1715 to 1723. Born at his father's palace at Saint-Cloud, he was known from birth under the title of Duke of Chartres. His father was Louis XIV's younger brother Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, his mother was Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate.

He was an only child, his parents separating in 1778 after his father's romantic involvement with one Marguerite Catherine Michelot, an opera singer, was discovered; it was his mother who was blamed for her husband's infidelity. Michelot was the mother of Enghien's two illegitimate sisters.

He was educated privately by the Abbé Millot, and in military matters by Commodore de Vinieux. He early on showed the warlike spirit of the House of Condé, and began his military career in 1788. At the outbreak of the French Revolution, he emigrated with his father and grandfather a few days after the Storming of the Bastille, and in exile he would seek to raise forces for the invasion of France and restoration of the monarchy to its pre-revolutionary status.

The Most Serene House of Condé was a French princely house and a cadet branch of the House of Bourbon. The name of the house was derived from the title of Prince of Condé that was originally assumed around 1557 by the French Protestant leader, Louis de Bourbon (1530–1569), uncle of King Henry IV of France, and borne by his male-line descendants.

French Revolution social and political revolution in France and its colonies occurring from 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

Storming of the Bastille part of the French Revolution

The Storming of the Bastille occurred in Paris, France, on the afternoon of 14 July 1789.

In 1792, at the outbreak of French Revolutionary Wars, he held a command in the corps of émigrés organized and commanded by his grandfather, the Prince of Condé.[ citation needed ] This Army of Condé shared in the Duke of Brunswick's unsuccessful invasion of France. [3]

French Revolutionary Wars series of conflicts fought between the French Republic and several European monarchies from 1792 to 1802

The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution. They pitted France against Great Britain, Austria and several other monarchies. They are divided in two periods: the War of the First Coalition (1792–97) and the War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802). Initially confined to Europe, the fighting gradually assumed a global dimension. After a decade of constant warfare and aggressive diplomacy, France had conquered a wide array of territories, from the Italian Peninsula and the Low Countries in Europe to the Louisiana Territory in North America. French success in these conflicts ensured the spread of revolutionary principles over much of Europe.

Army of Condé

The Army of Condé was a French field army during the French Revolutionary Wars. One of several émigré field armies, it was the only one to survive the War of the First Coalition; others had been formed by the Comte d'Artois and Mirabeau-Tonneau. The émigré armies were formed by aristocrats and nobles who had fled from the violence in France after the August Decrees. The army was commanded by Louis Joseph de Bourbon, Prince de Condé, the cousin of Louis XVI of France. Among its members were Condé's grandson, the Duc d'Enghien and the two sons of Louis XVI's younger brother, the Comte d'Artois, and so the army was sometimes also called the Princes' Army.

Charlotte Louise de Rohan, Louis Antoine's secret wife; miniature by Francois-Joseph Desvernois Charlotte de Rohan by Francois-Joseph Desvernois, spouse of the Duke of Enghien.jpg
Charlotte Louise de Rohan, Louis Antoine's secret wife; miniature by François-Joseph Desvernois

After this, the young duke continued to serve under his father and grandfather in the Condé army, and, on several occasions, distinguished himself by his bravery and ardour in the vanguard. On the dissolution of that force after the peace of Lunéville (February 1801), he privately married Charlotte de Rohan, niece of the Cardinal de Rohan, and took up his residence at Ettenheim in Baden, near the Rhine.

Seizure, trial and death

Early in 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte, then First Consul of France, heard news which seemed to connect the young duke with the Cadoudal Affair, a conspiracy which was being tracked by the French police at the time. It involved royalists Jean-Charles Pichegru and Georges Cadoudal who wished to overthrow Bonaparte's regime and reinstate the monarchy. [4] The news ran that the duke was in company with Charles François Dumouriez and had made secret journeys into France. This was false; there is no evidence that the duke had dealings with either Cadoudal or Pichegru. However, the duke had previously been condemned in absentia for having fought against the French Republic in the Armée des Émigrés . Napoleon gave orders for the seizure of the duke.

French dragoons crossed the Rhine secretly, surrounded his house and brought him to Strasbourg (15 March 1804), and thence to the Château de Vincennes, near Paris, where a military commission of French colonels presided over by General Hulin was hastily convened to try him. The duke was charged chiefly with bearing arms against France in the late war, and with intending to take part in the new coalition then proposed against France.

The military commission, presided over by Hulin, drew up the act of condemnation, being incited thereto by orders from Anne Jean Marie René Savary, who had come charged with instructions to kill the duke. Savary prevented any chance of an interview between the condemned and the First Consul, and, on 21 March, the duke was shot in the moat of the castle, near a grave which had already been prepared. A platoon of the Gendarmes d'élite was in charge of the execution. [5]

In 1816, his remains were exhumed and placed in the Holy Chapel [6] of the Château de Vincennes.

Impact of death

Execution of the duc d'Enghien. Execution of the duke d Enghien.jpg
Execution of the duc d'Enghien.

Royalty across Europe were shocked and dismayed. Tsar Alexander I of Russia was especially alarmed, and decided to curb Napoleon's power. [1]

The duc d'Enghien was the last descendant of the House of Condé; his grandfather and father survived him, but died without producing further heirs. It is now known that Joséphine and Madame de Rémusat had begged Bonaparte for mercy towards the duke; but nothing would bend his will. Whether Talleyrand, Fouché or Savary bore responsibility for the seizure of the duke is debatable, as at times Napoleon was known to claim Talleyrand conceived the idea, while at other times he took full responsibility himself. [7] On his way to St. Helena and at Longwood, Napoleon asserted that, in the same circumstances, he would do the same again; he inserted a similar declaration in his will, stating that "it was necessary for the safety, interest, and the honour of the French people when the Comte d'Artois, by his own confession, was supporting sixty assassins at Paris." [8]

The execution of Enghien shocked the aristocracy of Europe, who still remembered the bloodletting of the Revolution. Either Antoine Boulay, comte de la Meurthe [9] (deputy from Meurthe in the Corps législatif) or Napoleon's chief of police, Fouché, [10] said about his execution "C'est pire qu'un crime, c'est une faute", a statement often rendered in English as "It was worse than a crime; it was a blunder." The statement is also sometimes attributed to Talleyrand.

Conversely, in France the execution appeared to quiet domestic resistance to Napoleon, who soon crowned himself Emperor of the French. Cadoudal, dismayed at the news of Napoleon's proclamation, reputedly exclaimed, "We wanted to make a king, but we made an emperor". [11]

Cultural references

Tolstoy

The killing of the duc d'Enghien is discussed in the opening book of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace . The vicomte de Mortemart, a French émigré who supposedly knew the duke personally, is the focus of attention of the Russian aristocrats gathered at Anna Pavlovna Sherer's home:

The group about Mortemart immediately began discussing the murder of the duc d'Enghien. "After the murder of the Duc, even the most partial ceased to regard [Buonaparte] as a hero. If to some people he ever was a hero, after the murder of the duc there was one martyr more in heaven and one hero less on earth." The vicomte said that the duc d'Enghien had perished by his own magnanimity, and that there were particular reasons for Buonaparte's hatred of him.(...)

It was an anecdote, then current, to the effect that the duc d'Enghien had gone secretly to Paris to visit Mademoiselle George; that at her house he came upon Bonaparte, who also enjoyed the famous actress' favors, and that in his presence Napoleon happened to fall into one of the fainting fits to which he was subject, and was thus at the Duc's mercy. The latter spared him, and this magnanimity Bonaparte subsequently repaid by death. The story was very pretty and interesting, especially at the point where the rivals suddenly recognized one another; and the ladies looked agitated.

The actress Marguerite-Joséphine Wiemer, known as "Mademoiselle George", was indeed Napoleon's mistress, but there is no evidence that the duc d'Enghien had anything to do with her, or that the story preserved to posterity by Tolstoy's masterpiece was anything more than one of the pieces of gossip and conspiracy theories current around Europe at the time.

Dumas

The killing of the duc d'Enghien is treated in The Last Cavalier by Alexandre Dumas. For example:

[T]he dominant sentiment in Bonaparte's mind at that moment was neither fear nor vengeance, but rather the desire for all of France to realise that Bourbon blood, so sacred to Royalist partisans, was no more sacred to him than the blood of any other citizen in the Republic.

"Well, then", asked Cambacérès, "what have you decided?"

"It's simple", said Bonaparte. "We shall kidnap the Duc d'Enghien and be done with it." [12]

His death was also briefly mentioned in The Count of Monte Cristo :

'There wasn't any trouble over treaties when it was a question of shooting the poor Duc d'Enghien' " [13]

Film

La mort du duc d'Enghien en 1804 (1909) was a one reel silent film directed by Albert Capellani. [14]

Ancestry

Titles, styles, and arms

Arms of the Duke of Enghien Coat of arms of the Duke of Enghien.png
Arms of the Duke of Enghien

Titles and styles

References and notes

  1. 1 2 Charles Esdaile (2009). Napoleon's Wars: An International History. Penguin. pp. 192–93.
  2. Fremont-Barnes, Gregory (2007). Encyclopedia of the Age of Political Revolutions and New Ideologies, 1760-1815: A-L. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 216. ISBN   978-0313334467.
  3. Fremont-Barnes, Gregory (2007). Encyclopedia of the Age of Political Revolutions and New Ideologies, 1760-1815: A-L. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 217. ISBN   978-0313334467.
  4. Crowe, Eyre Evans (1843-01-01). The History of France. Harper.
  5. Isidore Marie Brignole Gautier, "Conduite de Bonaparte relativement aux assassinats de Monseigneur le duc d'Enghien et du Marquis de Frotté", Paris, 1823, p.32
  6. The Duke of Enghien's short biography in Napoleon & Empire website, displaying photographs of the Château de Vincennes and its Holy Chapel
  7. Duff Cooper, Talleyrand. (Great Britain: Jonathan Cape, 1932), p. 139-141
  8. "The d'Enghien Affair: Crime or Blunder?". www.napoleon-series.org.
  9. The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations
  10. John Bartlett, Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919), 9625
  11. "Chapitre 28". www.napoleonicsociety.com.
  12. Dumas, Alexandre, The Last Cavalier, p. 292 (Lauren Yoder trans., Pegasus Books 2007) (1869).
  13. Dumas, Alexandre, The Count of Monte Cristo, p. 41 (Chapman and Hall trans., Wordsworth Classics 2002) (1844).
  14. "The Death of the Duke D'Enghien". 20 December 1909 via www.imdb.com.

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