Volume II

CHAPTER 29, PART II

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Eugène de Beauharnais’ marriage to the King of Bavaria’s daughter was part of
Napoleon’s geopolitical strategy to assure the protection of his Empire.

 

In our last chapter we announced a geographical description or “identity card” of the States which formed the Confederation of the Rhine, created on 12 July 1806, under the protection – that was the term – of the Emperor of the French.

The following information was assembled in documents which date from 1812 and in geographical dictionaries of the same period.

We have, whenever possible, respected the original spelling except in cases where this might lead to confusion in the text.

It was also an opportunity to give a general idea of the production and resources of the minor States and principalities whose names today have long since disappeared.

Attentive readers of this chapter – which is markedly different from the epic Napoleonic history usually recounted in our other chapters - will very soon come to the conclusion that studying history and geography at the period was certainly no easy task for pupils.

(The population and surface areas are given in round numbers)

 

GRAND DUCHY OF FRANKFURT

Consists of the towns of Frankfurt upon Mainz (40,000 inhabitants) which is the capital, and of Wetzlar (7,000 inhabitants), with their respective territories, of the principality of Aschffenburg and of the greater part of Hanau and Fulde (most certainly Fulda, north-east of Frankfurt, Fulde is situated more to the north, in Lower Saxony).

The Grand Duchy of Frankfurt, which covers one hundred and ten square miles (one mile=1, 481, 5 metres) has a population of 367,000.

In wartime has a contingent of 2,800 men.

The Prince Primate of the Confederation of the Rhine, Karl von Darlberg, born on 8 February 1744, was Grand Duke and Prince Sovereign of Aschaffenburg, Frankfurt, Fulda, etc.

Upon the decease of the Prince, the Grand Duchy was to pass under the authority of Prince Eugene (Napoleon’s step son), Vice-King of Italy, according to the terms of one of the articles of the Treaty.

 

KINGDOM OF WÜRTTEMBERG

Situated in the region which lies between Bavaria, Switzerland and the Grand-Duchy of Baden, Württemberg also became a kingdom thanks to Napoleon, in 1806, and covers a territory of 329 square miles with a population of 1,200,000.


Contingent
: 12,000 men.

Capital: Stuttgart (25,000 inhabitants).

Production: silk fabric, cloth, cotton, handiwork of gold, silver and metal, hemp rope and excellent vineyards.

Sovereign: Frederick William Charles, born 6 November 1754.

 



The King of Württemberg

KINGDOM OF SAXONY

A former Electorate, the Kingdom of Saxony consisted of the actual Duchy of Saxony,


Marie-Amelie, Queen
of Saxony

of Meissen (former margraviate integrated into Saxony in 1423), a part of Lusace (capital: Bautzen ) and Magdeburg.

By the Treaty of Posen (the German name of Poznan, in Poland) signed on 11 December 1806, by Napoleon and the Elector of Saxony, the latter became King of Saxony and joined the Confederation of the Rhine.

The following year, by the Treaty of Tilsit (7-9 July), a large part of Poland which belonged to Prussia prior to its defeat at Jena-Auerstädt, was united to Saxony forming the Grand Duchy of Warsaw.

The circle (a territorial division in Germany under the Holy Roman Empire) of Cotbus, in Lower Lusace, was enlarged in 1809, after the Peace Treaty of Vienna, by the addition of western Galicia and the circle of Zamovski (19,000 inhabitants: production of candles and wax) in eastern Galicia.

The territory of both States united covered 2,500 square miles and after the Vienna Treaty was signed on 14 October 1809, following the Austrian defeat at Wagram (6 July) the population totalled six million inhabitants.

Contingent : 20,000 men.

Capital : Dresden (48,960 inhabitants).


Frederick Augustus, King
of Saxony

Sovereign : Frederick Augustus, born 23 December 1750, proclaimed Grand Duke of Warsaw in 1807.

 

KINGDOM OF BAVARIA

Was a duchy before it was created a kingdom by Napoleon in 1806. The Kingdom of Bavaria was divided into Upper Bavaria and includes Munich, the capital (38,000 inhabitants). Production: fine tapestries, silk ribbons, playing cards, silverware and beer), and Lower Bavaria.

The Kingdom of Bavaria extended its territories over the centuries.

Comprises among others:

- The bishopric of Bamberg ;

- The principality of Eichstedt (58,000 inhabitants).

Production: hops, chestnuts, vegetables, linen, hemp, iron mines and marble quarries;

Maximilian-Joseph,
King of Bavaria

The margraviate of Anspach (15,000 inhabitants);

The bishopric of Augsburg (36,000 inhabitants). Production: silverware, cotton manufactures and painted canvas;

The towns of Rothenbürg;

The margraviate of Burgau;

The principality of Kempten (4,000 inhabitants; canvas factories), famous for its abby;

The bishoprics of Freisengen (5,500 inhabitants) and Passau ;

The German Tyrol

The bishoprics of Brixen (im-Thale, in the Austrian Tyrol), Ratisbonne (21,000 inhabitants). Resources: arsenal, manufacturing, salt and beer trade, and Salzburg (18,000 inhabitants). Activity: trade of salt, copper, iron, millstones, grindstones;

The region of Salzburg : 36 leagues long by 32 leagues wide (188,000 inhabitants).

Production: linen and hemp, but little wheat; the exploitationof mines produced 886 quintals of copper per year, 25,860 of iron, 260,000 salt, 1,350 marks of silver (ancient measure of weight which was used throughout western Europe to weigh precious metal especially gold and silver equal to 244,5 gram.)…

Surface: 800 square miles

Population: 3,800,000 inhabitants

Contingent: 30,000 men (50,000 according to others sources)

Sovereign: Maximilien Joseph, born 27 May 1756

 

KINGDOM OF WESTPHALI


Formerly one of the circles of the Holy Roman Empire, created a kingdom in 1807, this State consists of:

- the States of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel

- part of the Altmark region (in the northern district of Magdeburg) and the region of Magdeburg , Hildesheim (the former bishopric has a population of 100,000, 12,000 of which in the town itself. Its main activity is an “important volume of trade of linen and textile”), Halberstadt (18,000 inhabitants; manufactures woollen garments, cloth and gloves) and Hohenstein, in the region of Thüringen (wheat, cattle, forests),

- The territories of:

- Halle

Catherine, Queen
of Westphalia

- Quedlimburg (6 square leagues, 12,000 inhabitants; breweries of renown).

- Corvey (or New-Corbie on the river Weser)

- Göttingen : (8,500 inhabitants), Grubenhagen and Mulhausen.

- The counties of:

-Manfeld, Stolberg-Wernigerode,
Bietberg-Kaunitz
;

- The State of Hesse-Cassel,

- The Duchy of Westphalia and part of Hanover.

Capital: Cassel (20,000 inhabitants)

Sovereign : Jerôme Bonaparte, born 15 November 1784, Napoleon’s younger brother.

This portrait of Jérôme, Napoleon’s younger brother and King of Westphalia, shows his taste for flamboyant costumes.

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GRAND DUCHY OF
BADEN

This State consists of:

Frederick-Charles, Grand Duke of Bade

- the county of Bondorf (written “Boudort” in sources of the period. Situated today in the region of Baden-Wurttemberg);

- the bishopric of Konstanz (11,000 inhabitants) and part of the bishopric of

Spire ;

- the towns of Brunlingen (very probably Bräunlingen), Villingen (in the Black Forest), Duttlingen (probably: Dettlingen or Detingen), Wimpffen, Zell, Offenbourg, Gengenbach, Biberach, Pfullendorf, Überlingen (on the lake Konstanz).

Surface area : 300 square miles;

Population: 900,000 inhabitants;

Capital: Karlsruhe (production: starch, tobacco, “beautiful vases”, snuff boxes, fine furniture).

Contingent: 8,000 men

Sovereign: Charles Frederick of Baden, born 22 November 1728.

When the treaty establishing the Confederation of the Rhine was signed on 12 July 1806 , Napoleon had every reason to believe that the little princes would remain faithful to the Empire. But when he later encountered adversity, they all deserted except for the King of Saxony
who paid for his fidelity when the Allies made him prisoner.


 

GRAND DUCHY OF HESSE-DARMSTADT

Consists of:

- the former landgraviate of Hesse-Cassel ;

- the duchy of Westphalia ;

- the counties of Wittgenstein, Erbach, and part of Catzenelleboggen (Katzenelnbogen);

- the bishopric of Mainz ;

- the bishopric of Worms ;

- the towns of Homburg, Giessen, and Friedberg

Population : 490,000 inhabitants.

Capital: Darmstadt.

Contingent : 4,000 men.

Sovereign : Louis X, born 14 June 1753.

 

GRAND DUCHY OF BERG AND KLEVE


Joachim Murat, Marshal of the French Empire and Grand Duke of Berg


This State, situated on the eastern bank of the Rhine, in the circle of Westphalia, consists of:

- the duchies of Berg and Kleve ;

- the counties of Bentheim and Marck ;

- the duchies of Nassau-Siegen, Nassau-Dillenburg and a small part of the bishopricof Munster.

Capital: Düsseldorf (10,000 inhabitants).

At the height of its power, the grand duchy counted some 880,000 inhabitants spread over a territory of 12,700 square miles.

The grand duchy was first placed under the full sovereignty of Prince Joachim Murat (1767-1815), before passing under the authority of Louis Bonaparte when Murat became King of Naples in 1808.

GRAND DUCHY OF WURTZBURG

Consists of:

- part of Franconia ;

- the duchy of Coburg ;

- the abbey of Fulda ;

- the archdiocese of Mainz ;

- the marquisate of Anspach ;

- the bishopric of Bamberg and the county of Vertheim

Territory : 26 leagues long by 20 leagues wide.

Population : 2,600,000 inhabitants

Capital : Wurtzburg.

Sovereign : Prince Ferdinand, brother of the Emperor of Austria, born 6 May 1769.

 

PRICIPALITY OF NASSAU-USINGEN

PRINCIPALITY OF NASSAU-WEILBOURG

The first is situated in Wettevau (spelling of the period), a province of approximately 24 square leagues situated between Hesse, the French department of the Bas Rhin, Westphalia and Franconia, which was one of the first duchies of the Holy Roman Empire.

Capital : Usingen.

Sovereign : Frederick Augustus, Prince of Nassau-Usingen, born 23 April 1738.

The second is situated in the circle of the French department of the Haut Rhin;

Capital : Weilburg.

Sovereign : Frederick-William, Prince of Nassau-Weilburg, born 25 October 1768.


The States which belonged to the Confederation of the Rhine were obliged to supply a contingent of troops which was proportionate to their population in return for the protection of their territory by France . The Saxon contingent was the largest after the Grand Duchy of Warsaw became part of Saxony.


Cavalryman of a regiment of
chevau-légers of Berg

 

 

PRINCIPALITY OF HOHENZOLLERN-HECHINGEN

Situated in the circle of Schwaben, the capital is Hechingen.

Sovereign : Prince Frederick-Herman, born 22 July 1776.

 

PRINCIPALITY OF HOHENZOLLERN-SIGMARINGEN

Also situated in the circle of Schwaben, it includes the seigneury of Trochtelsingen, Jungnau, Strasberg (silver mines), the bailiwick of Ostrach and part of the seigneury of Moëskirch.

Capital : Sigmaringen.

Sovereign : Aloys-Meinrad-Franz, born 20 June 1762.

 

PRINCIPALITY OF ISEMBURG-BIRNSTEIN

Consists of the possessions of the counts of Isemburg, Budingen, Woechtersbach and Meerholtz.

Capital : Offenbach (production: jewellery, carriages and tobacco).

Population : 43,000 inhabitants.

Contingent : 291,000 men.

Sovereign : Prince Charles Frederick Louis Maurice, born 29 June 1766.


Napoleon was most concerned about his relationship with the princes of the Confederation of the Rhine . On this old print he is shown paying a visit to the King of Württemberg.

 

PRINCIPALITY OF LICHTENSTEIN

Situated in the region of Meissen (province in the kingdom of Saxony between the rivers Elbe and Saale ). The sovereign, Prince Charles of Lichtenstein, was born 14 June…1803.

The explanation for this is that Napoleon who had a lot esteem for Prince Jean (John) of Lichtenstein (1760-1836), who was the signatory of the Pressburg peace treaty, had automatically included him in the Confederation to guarantee the independence of his tiny principality. But Prince John who was unwilling to leave Austrian service renounced his sovereignty in favour of his youngest son. This decision in no way altered the Emperor’s feeling for the Prince whom he encountered again as an enemy in 1809, during the second Austrian campaign.

 

PRINCIPALITY OF LEYEN

Situated on the river Trier, the sovereign is Philip-Francis, born 1 August 1766.

 

DUCHY OF SAXE-WEIMAR

The principality which covers an area of 16 leagues long by 8 leagues wide includes Saxe-Weimar and Saxe-Eisenach.

Production : linen, hemp, hops, fruit and wine; sheep rearing and horse breeding; cotton mills, potash, saltpetre and wool factories.

Population : 116,400 inhabitants.

Capital: Weimar (7,000 inhabitants).

Contingent : 8,000 men.

Sovereign : Charles Augustus, Duke of Saxe- Weimar, born 3 September 1757.

Charles Augustus, Duke of Saxe-Weimar

 

DUCHY OF SAXE-GOTHA

Consists of the principality of Saxe-Gotha and part of that of Altenbourg.

Production : manufactory of porcelain and manufactures of woollen fabric.

Capital: Gotha.

Contingent : 1,100 men.

Sovereign : Augustus, Duke of Saxe-Gotha, born 23 November 1722.

 

DUCHY OF SAXE-MEININGEN

Includes part of the principality of Coburg and of that of Henneberg.

Capital: Meiningen (3,600 inhabitants).

Contingent : 300 men.

 

DUCHY OF SAXE-HILDBURGHAUSEN

Situated in the county of Henneberg, the principality’s capital is Hildburghausen.

Contingent: 200 men.

Sovereign : Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen, born 29 April 1763.

 

DUCHY OF SAXE-COBURG-SAALFELD

This principality which is a dependency of the circle of Upper Saxony is situated in Franconia.

Its territory measures 16 leagues long by 8 leagues wide.

Population : 65,000 inhabitants.

Production : breeding and leather.

Contingent : 400 men.

Capital : Coburg (7,000 inhabitants).

Sovereign : Ernest-Frederick Anthony, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, born 2 January 1784.

On 1 October 1806 , at Aschaffenburg ( Bavaria ), the Prince Primate Karl von Darlberg welcomes Napoleon

 

PRINCIPALITY OF ANHALT-DESSAU

PRINCIPALITY OF ANHALT-BERNBURG

PRINCIPALITY OF ANHALT-COETHEN

These three principalities situated in the circle of Upper Saxony, are part of the county of Anhalt (18 leagues long by 2 to 3 leagues wide).

Resources : breweries, copper, silver, iron and lead mines.

- The capital of the first is Dessau. The Prince of Anhalt-Dessau is Leopold-Frederick, born 10 August 1740.

- The capital of the second is Bernburg; the sovereign prince is Alexis-Frederick, born 12 June 1767.

- The capital of the third is Coethen; the prince of Anhalt-Coethen is Augustus-Christian, born on 18 November 1769.

In accordance with Napoleon’s instructions, the King of Bavaria distributing rewards to Bavarian generals

 

PRINCIPALITY OF LIPPE-DETMOLD

PRINCIPALITY OF LIPPE-SCHAUMBOURG

Both are situated in Westphalia .

- The capital of the first, Lippstadt, is described in documents of the period as built in the middle of “insalubrious marshlands”.

The prince of Lippe-Detmold is Paul-Alexdander-Leopold, born on 6 October 1796.

- The capital of the latter is Rinteln.

The prince of Lippe-Schaumbourg is George-William, born on 28 December 1784.

 

PRINCIPALITY OF REUSS

Situated in the region of the Voigtland, in the circle of Saxony between Ertzeburge, Bohemia, the duchy of Saxony and Bavaria (topaz, iron, copper and tin mines; cotton and wool mills), the principality of Reuss (76,300 inhabitants) is ruled over by four princes: Henry XIII, Prince of Reuss-Greitz, born 16 February 1747, Henry XLII, Prince of Reuss-Schleitz, born 27 February 1752, Henry II, Prince of Reuss-Ebersdorf, born 16 May 1791, and Henry XXXV (?), Prince of Reuss-Lobenstein.

 

PRINCIPALITY OF SCHWARZBURG-SONDERHAUSEN

PRINCIPALITY OF SCHWARZBURG-RUDOLSTADT

Both are situated in the landgraviate of Thuringer.

- The capital of the first is Sonderhausen, and the prince sovereign is Gunther-Frederick-Charles, born on 5 December 1770.

- The capital of the second is Rudolstadt, and the sovereign, Frederick-Gunther, is born on 6 November 1793.

Early 19th century coins of Austria and Bavaria

Early 19th century coins of Prussia and Brunswick

 

PRINCIPALITY OF WALDECK

Situated in the circle of the French department of the Haut-Rhin, between Hesse, Westphalia and the bishopric of Paderborn, it has a surface area of 16 square leagues.

Population : 52,000 inhabitants.

Wealth : iron and copper mines; forests, pastures and farmlands.

Capital: Korbach.

Sovereign : Frederick, Prince of Waldeck, born 25 October 1743.

 

DUCHY OF MECKLENBURG-SCHWERIN AND STRELITZ

Situated in Lower Saxony, and comprising seven provinces, the state is divided into two parts: the Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and the duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, governed by two princes of the same family.

Their respective capitals are Schwerin and Strelitz.

Their territory measures 64 leagues long by 36 leagues wide.

The Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin is Frederick-Francis, born 10 December 1756, and the Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz is Charles-Louis-Frederick, born 10 October 1741.

 

WÜRTTEMBERGERS’ TRIBUTE TO NAPOLEON

 

When writing about the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine, many historians of all nationalities have refused to regard this as anything but the Emperor’s will and policy to pressurize the little sovereigns and princes for his own design.

In our previous chapter, we paid homage to the noble and courageous conduct of the King of Saxony who was the only member of the Confederation to remain faithful to Napoleon until the fall of the French Empire. But in 1813, the Allies made him pay dearly for his loyalty by making him prisoner.

For, when eventually Napoleon’s luck turned and he encountered only adversity, all the other sovereigns betrayed him. Like the King of Württemberg, for example, who in 1806, had assured Napoleon of his fidelity in the following terms

- “He [His Imperial Majesty, Napoleon] is assured of an ally whose sentiments are unwavering and whose attachment he has acquired for ever[!]” - on 27 October 1813, ordered his troops to abandon Napoleon’s hard-pushed army, and the following year he raised an army of 24,000 men for the Allies which was infinitely more than he had ever done for the Emperor who had made him king.

In France, as elsewhere, it is among the common people that one must turn to find the truth.

If Württemberg or any of the other States in the Confederation had suffered from its alliance with Napoleon, the following lines would never have been written.

They were written by Baron of Montalembert, Louis XVIII’s ambassador in Stuttgart, on 14 October 1816 (Montalembert’s injurious and bitter comments were presumably dictated by anger upon discovering the Württembergers’ slap in the face for Napoleon’s dull successor):

“I cannot hide from Your Majesty that everything here denotes regrets for the Usurper, indifference for our sovereign and hatred for our government. Little signs are often revealing and I guessed what the people really think by the indecent manner [!] and by the sort of adoration with which the servants in the castle show visitors the bed and chamber which was occupied, they say, by the “Great Napoleon ” [these quotation marks were inserted by the author of the letter] during his sojourn here. Everything in thisapartment seems to be preserved with pious adoration.”

Reading these lines – which are never cited! - makes it easier to understand why so many historians, and French royalists in particular, have gone to so much trouble and for so long now, to write Napoleonic history. In their own way.

 

To be continued…