Charles-Joseph, 7th Prince of Ligne  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Charles-Joseph Lamoral, 7th Prince de Ligne in French, Charles Joseph Lamoral 7te Fürst von Ligne (or Fürst de Ligne, in German): (Brussels, 23 May 1735 – Vienna, 13 December 1814) was a Field marshal and writer, and member of a princely family of Hainaut. He is considered on of the three great memorialists of the 18th century with Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798) and Giuseppe Gorani (1740-1819).


Military service

He was the son of Field Marshal Claude Lamoral, 6th Prince of Ligne and Elisabeth Alexandrine de Salm.
As an Austrian subject he entered the imperial army at an early age. He distinguished himself by his valour in the Seven Years' War, notably at Breslau, Leuthen, Hochkirch and Maxen, and after the war rose rapidly to the rank of lieutenant field marshal. He became the intimate friend and counsellor of the emperor Joseph II, and, inheriting his father's vast estates, lived in the greatest splendour and luxury till the War of the Bavarian Succession brought him again into active service.

This war was short and uneventful, and the prince then travelled in England, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France, devoting himself impartially to the courts, the camps, the salons and the learned assemblies of philosophers and scientists in each country.

In 1784 he was again employed in military work, and was promoted to Feldzeugmeister. In 1787 he was with Catherine II in Russia and accompanied her in her journey to the Crimea. In 1788 he was present at the siege of Belgrade.

Shortly after the siege of Belgrade he was invited to place himself at the head of the Belgian revolutionary movement, in which one of his sons and many of his relatives were prominent, but declined with great courtesy, saying that "he never revolted in the winter." Though suspected by Joseph of collusion with the rebels, the two friends were not long estranged, and after the death of the emperor the prince remained in Vienna. His Brabant estates were overrun by the French in 1792-1793, and his eldest son killed in action at La Croix-du Bois in the Argonne (September 14, 1792). He was given the rank of field marshal (1809) and an honorary command at court.

Later life

Despite the loss of his estates, Charles-Joseph lived in comparative luxury in his later life, and devoted himself to his literary work. He lived long enough to characterize the proceedings of the congress of Vienna with the famous mot: "Le Congrès danse mais ne marche pas."

Collected Works

His collected works appeared in thirty-four volumes at Vienna during the last years of his life (Mélanges militaires, littéraires, sentimentaires), and he bequeathed his manuscripts to the emperor's Trabant Guard, of which he was captain (Œuvres posthumes, Dresden and Vienna, 1817). Selections were published in French and German:

  • Œuvres choisies de M. le prince de Ligne (Paris, 1809)
  • Lettres et pensées du Maréchal Prince de Ligne, ed. by Madame de Staël (1809)
  • Template:Lang (Brussels, 1859)
  • Das Prinzem Karl von Ligne militärische Werke, ed. Count Pappenheim (Sulzbach, 1814)

The most important of his numerous works on all military subjects is the Fantaisies et préjuge's militaires, which originally appeared in 1780. A modern edition is that published by J Dumaine (Paris, 1879). A German version (Miltarische Vorurtheile und Phantasien, etc.) appeared as early as 1783. This work, though it deals lightly and cavalierly with the most important subjects (the prince even proposes to found an international academy of the art of war, wherein the reputation of generals could be impartially weighed), is a military classic, and indispensable to the students of the post. Frederician period. On the whole, it may be said that the prince adhered to the school of Guibert, and a full discussion will be found in Max Jahns' Gesch. d. Kriegswissenschaften. Another very celebrated work by the prince is the mock autobiography of Prince Eugène of Savoy (1809).

Other works of his include:

  • Lettres à Eugénie sur les spectacles (1774)
  • Céphalide, ou les Autres mariages samnites, comédie en musique (1777)
  • Préjugés et Fantaisies militaires (1780)
  • Colette et Lucas, comédie en musique (1781)
  • Coup d'œil sur Belœil (1781)
  • Fantaisies militaires (1783)
  • L'Amant ridicule, proverbe en prose (1787)
  • Mélanges militaires, littéraires et sentimentaires (1795-1811)
  • Mémoires sur les Juifs (1795-1811)
  • Les Embarras, pièce en un acte (manuscrit)
  • Contes immoraux

Marriage and issue

On 6 August 1755, in Valtice or Feldsberg, Charles-Joseph married Princess Franziska Xaveria Maria of Liechtenstein (Vienna, 27 November 1739 - Vienna, 17 May 1821), sister of Franz Joseph I, Prince of Liechtenstein. The couple had 7 children.

  • Prince Charles Antoine Joseph Emanuel (25 September 1759 Brussels - 14 September 1792)
  • Prince Francois Leopold (3 November 1764 - 6 January 1771)
  • Prince Louis Eugene Marie Lamoral (7 May 1766 Brussels - 10 May 1813 Brussels)
  • Prince Adalbert Xavier (26 August 1767 - 23 May 1771)
  • Princess Marie Christine Leopoldine (25 May 1757 Brussels - 13 September 1830 Teplice)
  • Princess Euphemie Christine Philippine (18 July 1773 Brussels - 30 March 1834 Vienna)
  • Princess Flore Adeleide Caroline (8 November 1775 Brussels - 9 December 1851 Vienna)

He also had an illegitimate daughter by Adelaide Fleury;

His grandson, Eugene Lamoral de Ligne (1804-1880), was a distinguished Belgian statesman, and another grandson, Count Maximilian Karl Lamoral O'Donnell von Tyrconnell (1812-1895), helped save the life of Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria in 1853.


Template:German title Fürst


See Revue de Bruxelles (October 1839); Reiffenberg, "Le Feld. maréchal Prince Charles Joseph de Ligne," Mémoires de l'académie de Bruxelles, vol. xix.; Peetermans, Le Prince de Ligne, ou un écrivain grand seigneur (Liege, 1857), Etudes et notices historique concernant l'histoire des Pays Bas, vol. iii. (Brussels, 1890)

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