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FRANZ EGON (1625-1682)

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Originally appearing in Volume V11, Page 367 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FRANZ EGON (1625-1682), bishop of Strassburg, was the elder son of Egon VII., count of Furstenberg (1588—1635), who served with distinction as a Bavarian general in the Thirty Years' War. He began life as a soldier in the imperial service, but on the elevation of his friend Maximilian Henry of Bavaria to the electorate of Cologne in 165o, he went to his court and embraced the ecclesiastical career. He soon gained a complete ascendancy over the weak-minded elector, and, with his brother William Egon (see below), was mainly instrumental in making him the tool of the aggressive policy of Louis XIV. of France. Ecclesiastical preferments were heaped upon him. As a child he had been appointed to a canonry of Cologne; to these he added others at Strassburg, Liege, Hildesheim and Spires; he became also suffragan bishop and dean of Cologne and provost of Hildesheim, and in 1663 bishop of Strassburg. Later he was also prince-abbot of Liiders and Murbach and abbot of Stablo and Malmedy. On the conclusion of a treaty between the emperor and the elector of Cologne, on the 11th of May 1674, Franz was deprived of all his preferments in Germany, and was compelled to take refuge in France. He was, however, amnestied with his brother William by a special article of the treaty of Nijmwegen (1679), whereupon he returned to Cologne. After the French occupation of Strassburg (1681) he took up his residence there and died on the 1st of April 1682. His brother WILLIAM EGON (1629—1704), bishop of Strassburg, began his career as a soldier in the French service. He went to the court of the elector of Cologne at the same time as Franz Egon, whose zeal for the cause of Louis XIV. of France he shared. In 1672 the intrigues of the two Furstenbergs had resulted in a treaty of offensive alliance between the French monarchy and the electorate of Cologne, and, the brothers being regarded by the Imperialists as the main cause of this disaster, William was seized by imperial soldiers in the monastery of St Pantaleon at Cologne, hurried off to Vienna and there tried for his life. He was saved by the intervention of the papal nuncio, but was kept in prison till the signature of the treaty of Nijmwegen (1679). As a reward for his services Louis XIV. appointed him bishop of Strassburg in succession to his brother in 1682, in 1686 obtained for him from Pope Innocent XI. the cardinal's hat, and in 1688 succeeded in obtaining his election as coadjutor-archbishop of Cologne and successor to the elector Maximilian Henry. At the instance of the emperor, however, the pope interposed his veto; the canons followed the papal lead, and, the progress of the Allies against Louis XIV. depriving him of all prospect of success, William Egon retired to France. Here he took up his abode at his abbey of St Germain des Pres near Paris, where he died on the loth of April 1704. In the Stuhlingen line the most notable was KARL EGON (1796—1854), prince of Furstenberg, the son of Prince Karl Alois of Furstenberg, a general in the Austrian service, who was killed at the battle of Loptingen on the 25th of March 1799. In 1804 he inherited the Swabian principality of Furstenberg and all the possessions of the family except the Moravian estates. He studied at Freiburg and Wiirzburg, and in 1815 accompanied Prince Schwarzenberg to Paris as staff-officer. in 1817 he came of age, and in the following year married the princess Amalie of Baden. By the mediatization of his principality in 1806 the greater part of his vast estates had fallen under the sovereignty of the grand-duke of Baden, and Prince Furstenberg took a conspicuous part in the upper house of the grand-duchy. In politics he distinguished himself by a liberalism rare in a great German noble, carrying through by his personal influence with his peers the abolition of tithes and feudal dues and stanchly advocating the freedom of the press. He was not less distinguished by his large charities: among other foundations he established a hospital at Donaueschingen. For the industrial development of the country, too, he did much, and proved himself also a notable patron of the arts. His palace of Donaueschingen, with its collections of paintings, engravings and coins, was a centre of culture, where poets, painters and musicians met with princely entertainment. He died on the 14th of September 1869, and was succeeded by his son Karl Egon II. (1820–1892), with the death of whose son, Karl Egon III., in 1896, the title and estates passed to Prince Maximilian Egon, head of the cadet line of Furstenberg-Piirglitz. See Munch, Gesch. des Hauses and des Landes Furstenberg, 4 vols. (Aix-la-Chapelle, 1829–1847) ; S. Riezler, Gesch. des fiirstlschen Hauses Furstenberg bis 1507 (Tubingen, 1883); Fiirslenbergisches Urkundenbuch, edited by S. Riezler and F. L. Baumann, vols. i.-vii. (Tubingen, 1877–1891), continued s. tit. Mitteilungen aus dem furstlich. Furstenbergischem Archie by Baumann and G. Tumbult, 2 vols. (ib. 1899–1902) ; Stokvis, Manuel d'histoire (Leiden, 189o–1893) ; Almanach de Gotha; Allgemeine deutsche Biographie. 2. The second Furstenberg family has its possessions in Westphalia and the country of the Rhine, and takes its name from the castle of Furstenberg on the Ruhr. The two most remarkable men whom it has produced are Franz Friedrich Wilhelm, freiherr von Furstenberg, and Franz Egon, count von Furstenberg-Stammheim. The former (1728–181o) became ultimately vicar-general of the prince-bishop of Munster, and effected a great number of important reforms in the administration of the country, besides doing much for its educational and industrial development. The latter (1797–1859) was an enthusiastic patron of art, who zealously advocated the completion of the Cologne cathedral, and erected the beautiful church of St Apollinaris near Remagen on the Rhine. He was a member of the Prussian Upper House in 1849, collaborated in founding the Preussisches Wochenblatt, and was an ardent defender of Catholic interests. His son, Count Gisbert von Fiirstenberg-Stammheim (b. 1836), was in 1909 head of the Rhenish line of the house of Furstenberg.
End of Article: FRANZ EGON (1625-1682)

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