Fürstenberg, Franz and Wilhelm Egon von
FÜRSTENBERG, FRANZ AND WILHELM EGON VON
Franz and Wilhelm Egon Von Fürstenberg were German churchmen and statesmen, sons of Egon von Fürstenberg–Heiligenberg (1588–1635), Bavarian Commander in Chief; Franz Egon, b. Bavaria, April 10, 1625;d. Cologne, Germany, April 1, 1682; and Wilhelm Egon, b. Bavaria, Dec. 2, 1629; d. Paris, April 10, 1704. The talents and the ambition of these brothers, who had their education by Jesuits in Cologne, were recognized early in their lives by the Bavarian Prince Maximilian Heinrich, later electoral prince of Cologne. They remained in his service until won over by Cardinal Mazarin with gifts, pensions, and benefices. They became energetic in furthering French interests and were instrumental in creating the rheinischer Bund between the rulers of important German cities and states and the crown of France. Later Louis XIV rewarded their loyalty with rich benefices and titles of honor, giving Franz the bishopric of Strassburg and Wilhelm the rich abbey of Saint–Michel. They also worked on the Francophile sympathies of Maximilian Heinrich, with the result that the alliances on Oct. 22, 1666, and June 11, 1671, were favorable to the French monarch. During an annual carnival in Cologne, Wilhelm was apprehended by the troops of Emperor Leopold I. His execution for treason was averted by the intervention of the papal nuncio, but both he and Franz were deprived of incomes, privileges, and property. A provision of the treaty of Nijmegen in 1679, which closed the Franco-Holland wars, restored the Fürstenberg brothers to their possessions and titles. At the death of Franz, Louis XIV had Wilhelm elected to succeed to the See of Strassburg on June 22, 1682, and four years later obtained a cardinal's hat from Innocent XI for his loyal agent.
Wilhelm then intrigued to succeed the aged and ailing Maximilian Heinrich in the powerful See of Cologne. Against the warnings of Innocent XI, the cathedral chapter gave Wilhelm 17 of the 24 votes. Although the pope declared the election null and void, Fürstenberg headed the government on Maximilian Heinrich's death on June 3, 1688. Because his election had not been confirmed, another was set for July 19. Of the 24 votes, 13 fell to Wilhelm and nine to Joseph Clemens. Wilhelm entered the palace of the electoral prince and ordered a proclamation of his elevation. This precipitous action caused the assembly (September 15) to declare the postulation of Fürstenberg invalid and the election of Joseph Clemens legal. Preparations were made for the installation of Clemens, and Fürstenberg was commanded in severe terms to leave Bonn. On April 12, 1689, he left for his abbey, Saint–Germain–des–Prés in Paris, where he remained until his death.
Bibliography: l. ennen, Allgemeine deutsche Biographie (Leipzig 1875–1910) 7:297–306. Der Grosse Brockhaus: Handbuch des Wissens, 20 v. (15th ed. Leipzig 1928–35) 6:692. a. hassal, Cambridge Modern History (London-New York 1911–36) 5:32–63. h. s. williams ed., France 843–1715, v. 11 of The Historians' History of the World, 27 v. in 15 (5th ed. New York 1926). m. braubach, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 4:469–470.
[m. v. schuller]