Paul III Anton, Prince Esterházy

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Paul Anton Esterházy
Galánthai herceg Esterházy Pál Antal.jpg
Minister besides the King of Hungary
In office
7 April 1848 – 9 September 1848
Preceded bypost created
Succeeded byKázmér Batthyány
Personal details
Born(1786-03-11)11 March 1786
Vienna
Died21 May 1866(1866-05-21) (aged 80)
Regensburg, Kingdom of Bavaria
Spouse(s)Princess Maria Theresia of Thurn and Taxis
ChildrenMária Terézia
Terezia Róza
Miklós Pál

Prince Pál Antal Esterházy de Galántha (German: Paul Anton Esterházy von Galantha; 11 March 1786 – 21 May 1866) was a Hungarian prince, a member of the famous Esterházy family. He was the son of Prince Nikolaus II and succeeded his father on the latter's death in 1833.

The basis of his wealth[edit]

For several generations, the Esterházy family had been exceedingly wealthy. The wealth came from their extensive landholdings, mostly in Hungary. In 1848 the American author John Stevens Cabot Abbott wrote the following of him:

Prince Esterházy in 1830

[In Hungary,] the feudal system still exists in all its ancient barbaric splendor. Prince Esterhazy, a Hungarian baron, is probably the richest man, who is not seated on a throne, in the world. He lives in the highest style of earthly grandeur. One of his four magnificent palaces contains three hundred and sixty rooms for guests, and a theater. His estates embrace one hundred and thirty villages, forty towns, and thirty-four castles. By the old feudal law, still undisturbed, he possesses unlimited power over his vassals, and can imprison, scourge, and slay at pleasure ... He has quite a little band of troops in his pay, and moves with military pomp and gorgeous retinue from palace to palace.[1]

The Prince's wealth came partly from the great number of peasants who owed him a portion of the fruits of the labors. He also had his own enterprises, directed by his staff, notably sheep raising. Of his enormous flock, Abbott relates:

Not long ago he visited England, and was a guest of the Lord of Holkham, one of the most wealthy proprietors of that island. While looking upon a very beautiful flock of two thousand sheep, the Lord of Holkham inquired if Esterhazy could show as fine a flock upon his estates. The wealthy baron smilingly replied, " My shepherds are more numerous than your sheep." This was literally true, for Esterhazy has two thousand five hundred shepherds.

Despite his great wealth, Paul managed to spend beyond his means, getting into financial trouble just as his father had. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, "the last years of his life were spent in comparative poverty and isolation, as even the Esterházy-Forchtenstein estates were unequal to the burden of supporting his fabulous extravagance and had to be placed in the hands of curators."[2] His successor Nikolaus III got out of debt in part by selling the famous family art collection.

Career as diplomat and politician[edit]

Pál Esterházy as the Minister besides the King in the Batthyány Government

While most of Paul's ancestors had served the Empire as military officers, Paul instead pursued a career in diplomacy, and later politics.

In 1806 he was secretary of the embassy in London, and in 1807 worked with Metternich in the same capacity in Paris. In 1810 he was accredited to the court of Dresden, where he tried in vain to detach Saxony from Napoleon, and in 1814 he accompanied his father on a secret mission to Rome. He took a leading part in all the diplomatic negotiations consequent upon the wars of 1813–1815, especially at the Congress of Châtillon.[2] After the Congress of Vienna (1815) he was appointed as ambassador to the United Kingdom at the request of the Prince Regent. His wife Maria Theresia became extremely popular in London, and was a patroness of Almack's club, the centre of fashionable society. In 1824 he represented Austria as ambassador extraordinary at the coronation of Charles X of France, and was the premier Austrian commissioner at the London conferences of 1830–1836.[2]

In 1842 Paul returned to Hungary and became a member of the Conservative Party, which supported the Habsburg supremacy and did not favour the reform experiments. On 7 April 1848 he was appointed as Minister besides the King in the first cabinet of Hungary which was controlled by Count Lajos Batthyány. His role was as the mediatory between Vienna and the Hungarian government. Seeing that his pacifying intentions ended in failure, he resigned from his position in September. Later Esterházy took connections with the immigrated politicians.

He was Minister besides the King during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. At the time of the Napoleonic Wars he worked for the Austrian Empire as a diplomat. He tried to form diplomatic associations for Vienna, (for example with the Kingdom of Saxony), but he did not achieve any results. Despite this failure Esterházy remained a famous and acknowledged politician.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Abbott 1848, p. 136
  2. ^ a b c Bain 1911, p. 795.

References[edit]

  • Abbott, John Stevens Cabot (1848) Kings and queens: or, Life in the palace: consisting of historical sketches of Josephine and Maria Louisa, Louis Philippe, Ferdinand of Austria, Nicholas, Isabella II., Leopold, and Victoria. New York: Harper and Brothers. Available on line at [1]
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainBain, Robert Nisbet (1911). "Esterházy of Galántha s.v. Pál Antal". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 9 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 794–795.
  • Magyar Életrajzi Lexikon
Paul III Anton, Prince Esterházy
Born: 11 March 1786 Died: 21 May 1866
Hungarian nobility
Preceded by
Nikolaus II
Prince Esterházy of Galántha
25 November 1833 – 21 May 1866
Succeeded by
Nikolaus III
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Philipp von Neumann
Austrian Ambassador to the United Kingdom
1815–1842
Succeeded by
Philipp von Neumann
Political offices
Preceded by
post created
Minister besides the King
7 April – 9 September 1848
Succeeded by
Kázmér Batthyány