HARDENEERG, KARL ArGITST, Prince Von, a Prussian statesman, was b. at Essen roda, in Hanover, May 31, 1750. He was educated at Leipsic, Giittingen, and Metzlau, and during 1776-78, traveled in Germany, France, Holland, and England. On his return to Hanover, he became privy-councilor of the exchequer, and was raised to the rank of count; but a quarrel with the prince of Wales, mit:Mating in a matter deeply affecting his honor, induced him, in 1782, to quit the service of the Hanoverian gov ernment. He now repaired to the court of Brunswick, where the duke appointed him, in 1787, president of the council of state. He was also commissioned by his master to convey the will of Frederick the great, which had been deposited in the duke's hands, to the new king, Frederick-William, who received him with marked distinction. In 1790 the markgraf of Anspach and Baireuth having requested the Prussian monarch to furnish him with a person competent to administer the affairs of his dominions, Frederick-William recommended Hardenberg. After Anspach and Baireuth were united with Prussia in 1791 Ilardenberg was appointed a Prussian minister of state, and a member of the cabinet ministry. At the commencement of the war with France the king stumnoned him to his head-quarters at Frankfort-on-the-Main as administrator of the army. Early in 1795 he was sent to Basel, where, on April 5. he concluded a peace between Prussia and the French republic. On the. ccession of Frederick-William III. in 1797, Hardenberg was recalled to Berlin, and was intrusted with the management of all foreign affairs. In 1804 he became first Prussian minister on the resignation of Haugwitz, and iu thiS capacity to preserve neutrality between France and England. But when the French troops attacked Anspach, he changed his policy, and addressed a strong remonstrance to marshal Duroc. After the victors' of IN.;apoleou et Austerlitz, Prussia was compelled to cuter into arrangements with Napoleon, Harden berg was deprived of his office, and Haugwitz, who was friendly to the French, returned to power. In 1806 Prussia was again led to declare war, and after the fatal
battle of Jena, Hardenberg accepted for sonic time the portfolio of foreign affairs at the desit e of the emperor Alexander. In 1810 he was appointed chancellor of state. Prussia was at this period in a deplorable condition, humbled in the verydust before France; nevertheless, Ilardeuberg was sagacious enough to perceive that the power of Napoleon was on the wane. He labored ardently to create a national feeling—a patriotic thirst for revenge. The victories of the British troops in the Spanish peninsula, and the disasters that overwhelmed in ruin Napoleon's vast army in Russia, greatly assisted him in his efforts, and he had the satisfaction of beholding them crowned with success. His exertions were unwearied; he subscribed to the peace of Paris,. June 1814; and was soon after raised to the rank of prince by his sovereign. He accom panied the allied sovereigns to Loudon, took part in the proceedings of the congress at Vienna, and in the treaties of Paris (1815). In 1817-he reorganized the council of State, of which he was appointed president. He was also present at the congresses of Aix-la Chapelle, Carlsbad, and Vienna, and drew up the new Prussian system of imposts. During a tour through the n. of Italy he was taken ill at Pavia, and died at Genoa, Nov. 26, 1822. The services rendered by Hardenberg to his country were undoubtedly great; to hint Prussia is mainly indebted for the improvements in her army system, the abolition of serfdom, of the privileges of the nobles, and of a multitude of trade cor porations, besides the complete reform of .her educational system. The 3ISS. of -his memoirs of the period from 1301 to the peace of Tilsit, were sealed up by Frederick William III., who deposited them in the archives of the state, and forbade them to be opened before the year 1350. See You Ranke's Denbefirdigkeiten, des nrsten, von, Hardenberg (4 vols. 1877).