Eugene of Savoy, although French born, was one of the greatest generals in Austrian history and a gentleman of excellent character. Eugene's career spanned over fifty years and he served three Emperors, defending Austrian interests from both the Ottomans and the French. From his first great victory over the Ottomans at Zenta to the battle of Belgrade, he protected Christian Europe and held together the Hapsburg empire.
THE HERO OF ZENTA.
The story of the brilliant career of Eugene, generally known as Prince Eugene of Savoy, has its special lesson for youth. He was intended for the Church, but was ambitious for a military career. Louis the Fourteenth had marked out for him the profession of an abbe; but monarchs, even the most powerful, do not always dispose. When "the little Capuchin," as he was contemptuously called, applied to that sovereign for a commission in the French army and was refused it, he shook the French dust from his feet and went to Austria, resolved that France some day should suffer for that refusal.
The story shows how his resolution was carried out. The Austrian Emperor gladly welcomed him. He rose from a subordinate position in the army to become one of the greatest generals of his time. All Europe felt the strength of the "little Capuchin's" arm. He was a born soldier and war was the passion of his life. His career seems almost like an inspiration. He won battles, often against largely superior forces, by the rapidity and dash of his attacks, by a personal courage which never wavered, and by a magnetic influence which inspired the admiration of his own soldiers and fear among his enemies. He was in the field more than fifty years. The ten peaceful years of his life were devoted to literature and the arts; but the battle-field was the scene of his life's success. The story which his life has for youth is the result which may be accomplished, not merely on battle-fields, but in every department of action, by determined purpose, resolute will, and tireless industry. The "little Capuchin" spurned the ease and comfort and luxury of an abbe for the rough fare of the soldier, and made himself the foremost general of his tirne by the exercise of these qualities.
CHICAGO, July, 1910.
Prince Eugene, the great warrior and statesman, although scion of an Italian family, and by birth a Frenchman, became a thorough German. He appeared at a critical time in the relations between Germany and France, to save his adopted fatherland from destruction, and to illuminate the darkest period of German history with the glory of a series of the most splendid and heroic achievements. The historian Von Sybel calls him "the greatest general and statesman of Austria." As a statesman he overtops the greatest of his successors, Kaunitz and Stadion. As a general he fills a place, chronologically and in rank, just between Gustavus Adolphus and Frederick the Great. He was a dashing hero and at the same time possessed a sympathetic nature. He was a genial companion, a conscientious patriot, a master in politics, and an upright man. Wherever he appeared he charmed. Although a born Frenchman of Italian stock, he showed truer German feeling and spirit than most of the Austrian leaders. He was one of those characters whom any nation might be proud to possess. He served the Austrian imperial house for fifty-three years, thereby contributing to the glory of the country.
The following is a chronological statement of the principal events in the life of Prince Eugene:
|1663||Born at Paris.|
|1683||Enters Austrian Service against the Turks.|
|1688||Major-General at Siege of Belgrade.|
|1691||Campaign in Italy.|
|1697||Defeats the Turks at Zenta.|
|1699||Treaty of Peace with the Turks.|
|1701||Campaign in Italy.|
|1704||Victory at Blenheim.|
|1706||Defeat of the French.|
|1707||Received Government of Milanese.|
|1708||In Command in Flanders.|
|1709||Battle of Malplaquet.|
|1712||Invasion of France.|
|1714||Treaty of Peace with France.|
|1716||Defeat of the Turks.|
|1717||Battle of Belgrade.|
|1718||Appointed Vicar-General of Italy.|
|1728||Campaign in France.|
|1735||Peace with France.|
|1736||Death of Eugene.|