Billeder på siden
[graphic][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]







History of the House of Brunswick, to the time of

their connexion with the Stuart Family; with a brief Account of that Family, brought down to the Death of Queen Anne.

THE origin of the illustrious House of Brunswick, the Lunenburgh branch of which has now filled the British throne for more than a century with such unrivalled glory, is entirely lost in remote antiquity. The German genealogists suppose it to have descended through females from the Saxon family, so renowned in the early periods of our History, and up to which most of the royal families of Europe proudly trace their pedigrees; but they certainly have advanced little, except its probability, in behalf of that supposition. Most authors, however, concur in deriving the House of Brunswick from Albert Azo II. of Este; but from what ancestors he himself came, they have not been able to decide: some contending that he descended from Charlemagne; others, from Hugh king of Italy; and some again, deriving his origin from Hugh Marquis of Este, great-grandson of Azo l. who they say descended from Caius Aëtius, a relative of the Emperor Augustus. This Caius Aëtius being a Roman of note, is said to have resided at Ateste, or Este; from which the family name is, in consequence, derived.

There is, however, scarcely any doubt that Albert Azo II. Marquis of Tuscany, and proprietor of the Milanese, who was a very powerful prince in Lombardy during the eleventh century, and lived to the great age of 101 years, is the most remote ancestor of the Brunswick family, of whom any thing certain is known. About the year 1040, he married Cunigunda, or Cuniza, heiress of the first Welphs, or Guelphs, earls of Altorf in Suabia; and their son, Welph or Guelph IV. of Este, obtained the duchy of Bavaria of Henry IV, in 1071, and is the acknowledged head of the ancient Guelph family, which was so considerable in the German empire; and a branch of which reigned in Burgundy. Guelph IV. first married Ethelina, daughter of Otho, Duke of Bavaria, whom the Emperor Henry IV. proscribed, and deprived of his title; which he conferred upon Guelph. His second and last wife was Judith of Flanders. After zealously serving the cause of the Emperor against the Pope, he espoused that of the Pope against the Emperor; undertook a voyage to the Holy Land, and died at the island of Cyprus.

His son Guelph V. Duke of Bavaria, though said to have been a very pious, as well as a very valiant prince, joined the Emperor Henry V. who had revolted against his father. Whatever doubts, how. ever, may exist as to his piety, he does not appear to have been deficient in policy; as by his marriage with Matilda of Este, he concentrated all the scattered possessions of the house of Este in his own person; and afterwards steadily opposed Pope Paschal II. in the Emperor's behalf.

His successor Henry, surnamed the Black, by his marriage with Wilfenden, daughter of Magnus Billing, Duke of East Saxony, acquired the duchy of Lunenburgh. Though the father of this princess lost all his feudal possessions by proscription, to her the royal families of Norway and Denmark, by her father's side, and that of Hungary, by her mother's, trace their origin. Her husband also was a principal actor in the important scenes of that turbulent time; and one of the mediators between the Emperor Henry V. and Pope Calixtus II. .

He was succeeded by Henry the Superb: having been deprived of his duchies of Bavaria and Saxony, (the latter of which he inherited from the Emperor Lothaire I. through his marriage with Gertrude, heiress of Saxony and Brunswick,) he raised an army; with which he marched against the Emperor Conrad III. who compromised the difference, by restoring his Saxon dominions; but withheld Bavaria, which was given to Leopold of Austria. This brought him to an early grave: but after his decease, his brother Guelph VÍ. assisted by the king of Sicily, made the most vigorous exertions for the recovery of the confiscated duchy; and, after several indecisive engagements, was compelled to surrender at discretion, after being closely besieged by the Emperor in the Castle of Weinsberg; which is so deservedly celebrated for the conjugal fidelity and affection of the ladies of the place, to wbom the Emperor granted permission to leave the castle, and take with them whatever they deemed most valuable, and were able to carry away: in consequence of which, they marched out, each bearing her husband on her back; which so affected the Emperor, that he burst into tears, generously forgave Guelph, and restored the duchy of Bavaria to his family. In this war arose the two famous factions of the Guelphs and Ghibelines, so much referred to in the page of European history.

« ForrigeFortsæt »