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Karl Philipp Furst zu Schwarzenberg 1771 – 1820

January 14, 2009

Karl Philipp Furst zu Schwarzenberg (or Prince Charles Philip of Schwarzenberg 1771 – 1820 was an Austrian field marshal.

Karl Philipp became a patient of Samuel Hahnemann when he was referred to homeopathy by Karl Philipp’s physician Matthias Marenzeller.

Karl Philipp’s Chief of Staff Johann Josef Wenzel Graf Radetzky von Radetz was a patient of homeopath Christophe Hartung, a student of Samuel Hahnemann.

Another of his Adjutant Generals, Baron Franz von Koller was a patient of homeopath Georg von Necker, also a student of Samuel Hahnemann.

As Austria had forbidden the practice of homeopathy, the field marshal was forced to undertake the journey to Leipzig, accompanied by his two life physicians.

Von Schwarzenberg was no less than one of the four commanders of the allied forces that had vanquished Napoleon in the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig in October 1813, Napoleon’s first defeat.

The field marshal was suffering the consequences of a stroke in 1817. Before showing up at Hahnemann for homeopathic treatment he had tried a water cure, but in vain.

Karl Philipp and his retinue travelled to Leipsig to consult Samuel Hahnemann, and initially, Karl Philipp improved. However, he could not be induced to give up his habit of high living, and then arguments broke out between Samuel Hahnemann and Karl Philipp’s allopathic physicians, who resisted Samuel Hahnemann’s recommended dietary advice and continued to bleed the Prince.

Samuel Hahnemann therefore did not treat the Prince for five weeks, and then Karl Philipp died suddently of another stroke.

Samuel Hahnemann attended the funeral and the autopsy, which revealed the presence of a grossly enlarged heart, with numerous arteriosclerotic nodules.

The allopathic physicians wasted no time in attacking homeopathy, such that Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote praising Samuel Hahnemann and homeopathy, and the Government of Saxony extended permission to Samuel Hahnemann to practice homeopathy within their juristiction.

The protests of the allopaths in Leipsig resulted in Samuel Hahnemann being given permission to continue to practice there also. Nonetheless, Samuel Hahnemann decided to move to Kothen.

Karl Philipp was born at Vienna, the son of Johann Nepomuk Anton Schwarzenberg and Marie Eleonore Countess of Ottingen-Wallerstein.

He entered the imperial cavalry in 1788, fought in 1789 under Lacy and Loudon against the Turks, distinguished himself by his bravery, and became major in 1792.

In the French campaign of 1793 he served in the advanced guard of the army commanded by Prince Josias of Coburg, and at Le Cateau Cambrésis in 1794 his impetuous charge at the head of his regiment, vigorously supported by twelve British squadrons, broke a whole corps of the French, killed and wounded 3000 men, and brought off 32 of the enemy’s guns.

He was immediately decorated with the Cross of the Military Order of Maria Theresa.

After taking part in the battles of Amberg and Würzburg in 1796 he was raised to the rank of Major General, and in 1799 he was promoted lieutenant field marshal.

At the defeat of Hohenlinden in 1800 his promptitude and courage saved the right wing of the Austrian army from destruction, and he was afterwards entrusted by the Archduke Charles of Austria with the command of the rearguard.

In the war of 1805 he held command of a division under Mack, and when Ulm was surrounded by Napoleon Bonaparte in October he was one of the brave band of cavalry, under the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria Este, which cut its way through the hostile lines.

In the same year he was made a Commander of the Order of Maria Theresa and in 1809 he received the Golden Fleece.

When in 1808, in view of a new war with France, Austria decided to send a special envoy to Russia, Schwarzenberg, who was persona grata at the Court of St Petersburg, was selected. He returned, however, in time to take part in the Battle of Wagram, and was soon afterwards promoted general of cavalry.

After the peace of Vienna he was sent to Paris to negotiate the marriage between Napoleon Bonaparte and the Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria. The prince gave a ball in honour of the bride on 1 July 1810, which ended in the tragic death of many of the guests, including his own sister in law, in a fire.

Napoleon Bonaparte held Schwarzenberg in great esteem, and it was at his request that the prince took command of the Austrian auxiliary corps in the Russian campaign of 1812. The part of the Austrians was well understood to be politically rather than morally hostile, and Schwarzenberg gained some minor successes by skilful manoeuvres without a great battle. Afterwards, under instructions from Napoleon Bonaparte, he remained for some months inactive at Pultusk.

In 1813, when Austria, after many hesitations, took the side of the allies against Napoleon Bonaparte, Schwarzenberg, recently promoted to field marshal, was appointed Commander in Chief of the allied Grand Army of Bohemia. As such he was the senior of the allied generals who conducted the campaign of 1813-1814 to the final victory before Paris and the overthrow of Napoleon Bonaparte.

It is the fashion to accuse Schwarzenberg of timidity and over caution, and his operations can easily be made to appear in that colour when contrasted with those of his principal subordinate, the fiery Blucher, but critics often forget that Schwarzenberg was an Austrian general first of all, that his army was practically the whole force that Austria could put into the field in Central Europe, and was therefore not lightly to be risked, and that the motives of his pusillanimity should be sought in the political archives of Vienna rather than in the text books of strategical theory.

In any case his victory, however achieved, was as complete as Austria desired, and his rewards were many, the Grand Crosses of the Order of Maria Theresa and of many foreign orders, an estate, the position of President of the Hofkriegsrath, and, as a specially remarkable honour, the right to bear the arms of Austria as an escutcheon of pretence.

But shortly afterwards, having lost his sister Caroline, to whom he was deeply attached, he fell ill. A stroke disabled him in 1817, and in 1820, when revisiting Leipzig, the scene of the Völkerschlacht that he had directed seven years before, he suffered a second stroke. He died there on the 15th of October.

Of interest:

The Princess of Schwarzenberg:

Among the persons who fought for the homeopathic cause in the early 1990s was the homeopathic physician Princess of Schwarzenberg whose famous ancestor, the war hero of the Battle of Leipzig in 1813, was one of Samuel Hahnemann’s prominent patients.


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