The History of Discus – FIRST DISCOVERY, Part2

C H A P T E R 1

Part 2

Von Metternich. Bleher's Discus, Chapter 1

Prince Clemens Wenzel von Metternich

Between these two epochs there was hardly an event of any importance in which Metternich was not involved, be it as witness or active participant; there was no notable personality during his time that he didn’t know personally.

Thus it was he that arranged the marriages of the Emperor’s daughters Marie-Louise and Leopoldine. The latter is of the most interest to us, in connection with the first discus, although in my view it was Napoleon who was to “blame” (or, at least, chiefly to blame) for Natterer being sent on his travels. But judge for yourself.

Metternich was already well aware, when he began to draw the threads of the marriage of Princess Leopoldine’s darling older sister Marie-Louise together, that marriage was a favourite instrument of Habsburg politics. “Bella gerant alii, tu felix Austria nube!” (Let others wage war; you, lucky man, marry Austria). And marriage between Marie-Louise and Napoleon would mean that the Austrian princess, once established in Paris, could moderate the demands of the conqueror, lay his suspicions to rest.

It is important to realise that in September 1808 Napoleon had held discussions in Erfurt with Tsar Alexander I. Pawlowitsch, his “dear brother and ally” as he called him, and Metternich had been present. And that following 1805, the Corsican tyrant had occupied Austria for a second time in 1809. That the existence of the Austrian Empire did not accord with Napoleon’s concept of world domination; and that the Emperor’s declarations of goodwill towards the French had met with other than belief…

Metternich was also aware that by 1808 Napoleon was already contemplating securing his succession via a new marriage – preferably marriage into an imperial family – and that he had repeatedly flirted with the dynasty of the Russian Tsars. This view was reinforced by the meeting in Erfurt.

However, the Tsar was apparently of a different opinion. When, in 1808, he learned of Napoleon’s intentions, he immediately married his elder sister Katherina to the Duke of Holstein-Oldenburg. But there was still his sister Anna. She was then only 13 years old, and there would have to be a delay, but Napoleon wasted no time.

In 1809 he despatched his emissaries to St. Petersburg with an official proposal. Meanwhile (on 16th December 1809) the Senate had pronounced the divorce of Napoleon and Joséphine. The wily Metternich was thus fully aware of the danger hanging over Austria in the event of a marital union between France and Russia, which would threaten not only her own destruction but also the carving up of Europe between these two great powers. To be continued…

See you next Saturday!