Franz Georg Karl von Metternich

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Portrait of the Count of Metternich-Winneburg around 1799

Franz Georg Karl Graf von Metternich-Winneburg , since 1803 Prince of Ochsenhausen (born March 9, 1746 in Koblenz , † August 11, 1818 in Vienna ) was a diplomat and minister in the Austrian service.


He came from the Winneburg-Beilstein line of the Metternich family and was the son of Count Johann Hugo von Metternich-Winneburg and his wife Clara Luise, Freiin von Kesselstatt . He himself married Countess Maria Beatrix von Kageneck in 1771 . He was the father of Klemens Wenzel Lothar von Metternich, among others .


Training and career beginnings

Since his father died early, Metternich grew up under the tutelage of his uncle Franz Ludwig von Metternich-Winneburg. Metternich studied law in Mainz . He also got to know the functioning of the judiciary and administration in the Holy Roman Empire at the Reich Chamber of Commerce in Wetzlar , the Reichstag in Regensburg and at the Reichshofrat in Vienna . Metternich then went on a grand tour through Italy .

After his return, Metternich was appointed envoy of the Elector of Trier Clemens Wenzeslaus in Vienna in 1768 . He was later appointed by the Elector to the State and Conference Council for Foreign Affairs. Metternich stood for a rather France-friendly policy. Since he was unable to assert himself against the relevant ministers, he went to the imperial court in 1773.

Imperial envoy

In Vienna he was supported primarily by Wenzel Anton Kaunitz . He was appointed envoy for the electorates of Trier and Cologne and for the Lower Rhine-Westphalian Empire . He played an important role in the election of Maria Kunigunde of Saxony as princess abbess of Essen (1780) and in the election of Maximilian Franz of Austria as Archbishop of Cologne and Bishop of Munster . However, Metternich failed to enforce the candidate of the imperial court in the dioceses of Liège , Hildesheim and Paderborn . At times Metternich was also envoy in Mainz , but due to intrigues he lost the trust of Elector Friedrich Karl von Erthal and was recalled from this post. Metternich's attempt to gain a position as judge at the Reich Chamber of Commerce or even that of Reich Vice Chancellor failed due to a lack of support from Kaunitz. Instead, Metternich was appointed the second electoral ambassador for the electorate of Bohemia when Leopold II was elected emperor in 1790.

In 1782 he became a member of the Freemasons' Union in Strasbourg ; the lodge Karoline to the three peacocks in Neuwied led him in their files in 1784 as master of the chair .

Minister for the Austrian Netherlands

He later played a role in ending the Liege Revolution . Subsequently Metternich was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary for the Austrian Netherlands . However, his sphere of influence was significantly restricted by the official governor Duke Albert von Sachsen-Teschen . Metternich met the estates, but could not really convince them. His situation in Brussels became dangerous when the First Coalition War began in 1792 and he has since withdrawn. With Kaunitz's resignation, Metternich lost his most important advocate in Vienna. After the loss of the Austrian Netherlands to France in 1794, Metternich returned to Vienna. With the advance of the French, he lost a large part of his possessions in the Rhineland and the family got into financial difficulties. Initially without further use, he was appointed envoy of the empire to the Rastatt Congress in 1797 . After the rather negative course for Austria, for which Metternich was not responsible, he lost all support at the court in Vienna.

Political sideline

In 1803 the family was compensated for the loss of the property on the left bank of the Rhine at the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss with the Reichsabtei Ochsenhausen . Since then Metternich has had the title of prince. In addition, he was appointed Minister of State and Conference in 1804, without any practical task associated with it. While his son Clemens was in Paris in 1810 because of Marie-Louise of Austria's wedding to Napoleon , Metternich represented him as head of the court and state chancellery. As such, he sought Austria's rapprochement with Russia. After Clemens returned, the latter reversed his father's orders, as he was pleading for a policy on the side of France at that time. As the owner of the mediatized rule of Ochsenhausen, Metternich was a member of the Württemberg state assemblies with voting rights from 1815 to 1817, but did not attend the meetings in Stuttgart personally, but was represented by Count Richard von Schaesberg-Thannheim.


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Robert A. Minder: Freemason Politicians Lexicon . Studienverlag, Innsbruck 2004, ISBN 3-7065-1909-7 , p. 160 .