History: Felix Lichnowsky (1814-1848)
Lichnowsky, the 4th Prince, was borned in Hradec nad Moravici, Czech Republic,
in April 5 1814. Called by one of his contemporaries "the Last of the
Knights" he was at first an ardent supporter of Catholic legitimacy.
His personal stationary was decorated with the Bourbon lily. He was the
first Lichnowsky to aspire to a political career in Prussia.
son of the historian Eduard Lichnowsky who had written a history of the
Habsburg family. He entered the Prussian army in 1834, but left it in 1838
to enter the service of the Spanish pretender Don Carlos, where he received
the rank of brigadier general. He fought a duel with the Spanish General
Montenegro and was severely wounded, but recovered.
achieved a certain fame in Europe, an astonishing number of famous contemporaries,
such as Alexander Von Humboldt and Hermann Puckler-Muskeu, Lamartine and
Victor Hugo, Liszt and Meyerbeer, Bettina Von Arnim and Marie d'Agoult (Liszt'
s friend), entered their verses and comments into his autograph album or,
as we say in German, his "Poesi album".
himself was a faithful friend and Maecenas to Liszt, who visited him twice
(1843 and 1846) on the Silesian states, when he gave concerts in cities
like Troppau (Opava) and Ratibor, and also in the Silesian capital, Breslau.
A signature missing in Felix's album was one of the Duchesse de Sagan. Although
his senior by twenty six years she was the ardently loved companion of the
last five years of his life. On his death bed he called her by name (1).
wonder his oratorial gifts and his tendency to mockery got on the nerves
of good many contemporaries, such as Heinrich Heine. In his satirical epic
" Atta Troll" Heine tried to ridicule him as the Chevalier Chenapanski
(Knight of the Road) who now had begun a literary career. Truly, Felix was
something of a knight-errand. In 1838, at the age of 28, after 4 years in
the Prussian army, he entered the service of the pretender to the Spanish
trone, Don Carlos, and for 2 years fought under him in Spain as general
of a brigade.
described his adventures in articles he wrote for the " Augusburguer
Allgemeine", then the most famous German newspaper. Later on, he turned
this articles into a book of reminiscences which won the praise of Hermann
Puckler because of the independence of judgement Felix had demosntraded
in it, for instance when criticizing his own army or the high aristocracy
in Spain (see Ludwig Bergstrasser's excellent essay on Felix (2).
Subsequently he lived in Paris, Bruxelles and Berlin.
As a member of the Prussian Diet and, later, an elected representative of
the Prussian district of Ratibor in the German National Assembly in St.
Paul, Frankfurt, he did not so much astonish by his amazing quickness of
repartee (he was famous for that in half of Europe) rather that people marvelled
at how thoroughly he was versed in economic and constitutional problems.
Professor Bergstrasser has pointed out, Felix was not the extremely rightist
for whom he has generally been decried. In Parliament, where he belonged
to the Right Centre, he gave a vivid description of the misery of the weavers
in Silesia. He suggested as practical measures for their assistance "
certificates of drawback" (If duties have been paid for the importation
of linen yarn, those same duties should be refunded upon the exportation
of linen goods woven out of that same yarn, and these reimbursements used
for assisting needy weavers).
St. Paul's, he stood for constitutional monarchy, in foreign politics for
moderation in the Polish and Sleswig Holstein (Danish) questions. But his
way of provoking the left and letting its representatives feel his personal
disdain gave rise to his death, when on 18 september 1848, open insurrection
broke out in consequence of the parliament's decision regarding the truce
of Malmö (in the debate for which Lichnowsky had spoken in very conciliatory
all warnings, Felix rode out with General von Auerswald to meet the troops
arriving from Württemberg. A mob recognized them on the Bornheimer
Highway and gave chase to the defenseless men. They fled, but accidentally
went down a dead-end path at the end of which they dismounted and hid in
a gardener's hut. The mob found them in the hut, shot von Auerswald to death
and beat up Felix who died the next day (18 september 1848) in Baron Bethmann's
Die Bethmanns. Aus der Geschichte eines alten Handels - hauses zu Frankfurt
a.M., Wiesbaden, publisher Der Greif, Walther Gericke, 1948, p.91.
(2) Ludwig Bergstrasser, Das unbekante Leben des bekannten Fursten Felix
Lichnowsky, periodical, "Hochland" 1933/34, year 31, no.9, pp
text above was written by Leonore Lichnowsky and its part of a lecture (From
the History of our Family) given in 1982 in the Ostdeutsche Galerie, Regensburg.
The complete text will be upadted soon in the History section our webpage.