Ferdinand Johann N.
Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau, Prince A rich and broad-acred magnate in teh kingdom of St Wenceslaus. In 1809, Beethoven wanted to leave Vienna, at the invitation of Jâerome Bonaparte. His long-standing friend, the Countess Anna Marie Erdčody, kept him at Vienna with the help of his wealthiest admirers: the Archbishop Rudolph, the Prince Lobkowitz and the Prince Kinsky. These men gave Beethoven an annual grant of 4 000 florins, allowing him to live without financial constraint. The only condition was that Beethoven was not to leave Vienna. Beethoven accepted. This grant made him the first independent composer. Before this contract musicians and composers alike (even Bach, Mozart and Haydn), became servants in the houses of wealthy aristocratic families. They were thus part of the domestic staff, with no more rights than any other, but with the added task of composition and performance. Thus, for the musician of the day, Beethoven had outstanding circumstances: he was free to write what he wanted, when he wanted, under command or not, as he pleased. betthoven wrote, "94. TO PRINCESS KINSKY,--PRAGUE Vienna, Dec. 30, 1812. YOUR HIGHNESS,-- The dreadful event which deprived you of your husband, Prince von Kinsky, snatching him from his father-land and from all those who love him, as well as from many whom he generously supported, filling every heart capable of appreciating goodness and greatness with the deepest sorrow, affected me also in the most profound and painful degree. The stern duty of self-interest compels me to lay before your Highness a humble petition, the reasonable purport of which may, I hope, plead my excuse for intruding on your Highness at a time when so many affairs of importance claim your attention. Permit me to state the matter to your Highness. Y.H. is no doubt aware that when I received a summons to Westphalia in the year 1809, his Highness Prince von Kinsky, your late husband, together with his I.H. Archduke Rudolph and H.H. the Prince von Lobkowitz, offered to settle on me for life an annual income of 4000 gulden, provided I declined the proposal in question, and determined to remain in Austria. Although this sum was by no means in proportion to that secured to me in Westphalia, still my predilection for Austria, as well as my sense of this most generous proposal, induced me to accept it without hesitation. The share contributed by H.H. Prince Kinsky consisted of 1800 florins, which I have received by quarterly instalments since 1809 from the Prince's privy purse. Though subsequent occurrences partially diminished this sum, I rested satisfied, till the appearance of the Finance Patent, reducing bank-notes into Einlčosung Schein. I applied to H.I.H. the Archduke Rudolph to request that the portion of the annuity contributed by H.I.H. should in future be paid in Einlčosung Schein. This was at once granted, and I received a written assurance to that effect from H.I.H. Prince von Lobkowitz agreed to the same with regard to his share,--700 florins [see No. 84]. H.H. Prince von Kinsky being at that time in Prague, I addressed my respectful petition to him last May, through Herr Varnhagen von Ense, an officer in the Vogelsang Regiment, that his Highness's contribution to my salary--1800 florins--should be paid like the rest in Einlčosung Schein. Herr von Varnhagen wrote as follows, and the original of the letter is still extant:-- "I had yesterday the desired interview with Prince Kinsky. With the highest praise of Beethoven, he at once acceded to his demand, and is prepared to pay up the arrears, and also all future sums from the date of the Einlčosung Schein, in that currency. The cashier here has received the necessary instructions, and Beethoven can draw for the whole sum on his way through Prague, or, if he prefers it, in Vienna, as soon as the Prince returns there. "Prague, June 9, 1812." When passing through Prague some weeks afterwards, I took the opportunity of waiting on the Prince, and received from him the fullest confirmation of this promise. H.H. likewise assured me that he entirely admitted the propriety of my demand, and considered it quite reasonable. As I could not remain in Prague till this affair was finally settled, H.H. was so kind as to make me a payment of sixty ducats on account, which, according to H.H.'s calculation, were good for 600 florins Vienna currency. The arrears were to be paid up on my return to Vienna, and an order given to the cashier to pay my salary in future in Einlčosung Schein. Such was H.H.'s pleasure. My illness increasing in Tčoplitz, I was obliged to remain there longer than I originally intended. In the month of September I therefore addressed to H.H., who was then in Vienna, through one of my friends here, Herr Oliva, a written memorial, claiming his promise, when H.H. graciously repeated to this friend the assurance he had already given me, adding that in the course of a few days he would give the necessary instructions on the subject to his cashier. A short time afterwards he left Vienna. When I arrived there, I inquired from the Prince's secretary whether H.H. had given directions about my salary before leaving Vienna, when, to my surprise, I was told that H.H. had done nothing in the matter. My title to the liquidation of my claim is proved by the testimony of the Herren von Varnhagen and Oliva, to whom H.H. spoke on the subject, reiterating his consent. I feel convinced that the illustrious heirs and family of this prince will in the same spirit of benevolence and generosity strive to fulfil his intentions. I therefore confidently place in Y.H.'s hands my respectful petition, viz., "to pay up the arrears of my salary in Einlčosung Schein, and to instruct your cashier to transmit me the amount in future, in the same currency." Relying on your sense of justice according me a favorable decision, I remain Y.H.'s Most obedient servant, LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN. [Footnote 1: Prince Josef Ferdinand Kinsky, born December, 1781, and killed by a fall from his horse, November 3, 1812.] 98. TO PRINCESS KINSKY. Vienna, Feb. 12, 1813. YOUR HIGHNESS!-- You were so gracious as to declare with regard to the salary settled on me by your deceased husband, that you saw the propriety of my receiving it in Vienna currency, but that the authority of the court of law which has assumed the guardianship of the estate must first be obtained. Under the conviction that the authorities who represent their princely wards could not fail to be influenced by the same motives that actuated the late Prince in his conduct towards me, I think I am justified in expecting the ratification of my claim from the aforesaid court, as I can prove, by the testimony of well-known, respectable, and upright men, the promise and intentions of H.H. in my behalf, which cannot fail to be binding on his heirs and children. If, therefore, the proofs submitted should even be found deficient in legal formality, I cannot doubt that this want will be supplied by the noble mode of thinking of this illustrious house, and by their own inclination to generous actions. Possibly another question may at present arise from the condition of the inheritance, which is no doubt heavily burdened, both owing to the melancholy and sudden death of the late Prince, and by the state of the times, which renders it equally just and indispensable to husband carefully all possible resources. On this account it is far from my wish to claim more than is absolutely necessary for my own livelihood, and grounded on the contract itself,--the legality of such a claim on the heirs of the late Prince not being in any way disputed. I beg, then, that Y.H. will be pleased to direct the arrears of my salary, due since the 1st September, 1811, calculated in Vienna currency, in accordance with the scale of the contract, making in W.W. 1088 florins 42 kreuzers, to be paid, and in the interim, the question whether this salary ought to be paid in Vienna currency can be deferred until the affairs are settled, when the subject is again brought before the trustees, and my claims admitted to be just by their consent and authority. The late Prince having given me sixty ducats merely on account of my salary, which was to be paid by agreement in Vienna currency, and as this agreement (as every intelligent man will inform Y.H.) must be accepted to its full extent, or at all events not cause me loss, it follows as a matter of course that Y.H. will not object to my considering the sixty ducats as only an instalment of the arrears due to me beyond the usual scale of payment, agreed to be paid in Vienna currency, so that the amount must not be deducted from the sum still due to me. I feel sure that Y.H.'s noble feelings will do justice to the equity of my proposal, and my wish to enter into every detail of this affair, so far as circumstances permit, and also my readiness to postpone my claims to suit your convenience. The same elevated sentiments which prompted you to fulfil the engagement entered into by the late Prince, will also make Y.H. apprehend the absolute necessity entailed on me by my position again to solicit immediate payment of the arrears of my salary, which are indispensable for my maintenance. Anxiously hoping for a favorable answer to my petition, I have the honor to remain, with profound respect, Y.R.H.'s obedient servant, LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN. 99. TO PRINCESS KINSKY. HIGHLY HONORED PRINCESS!-- As the Prince's counsel declared that my claim could not be heard till the choice of a guardian had been made, and as I now hear that Y.H. has been graciously pleased yourself to assume that office, but decline receiving any one, I present my humble petition in writing, requesting at the same time your early consideration; for you can easily understand that, relying on a thing as a certainty, it is painful to be so long deprived of it, especially as I am obliged entirely to support an unfortunate sickly brother and his whole family, which (not computing my own wants) has entirely exhausted my resources, having expected to provide for myself by the payment of my salary. You may perceive the justice of my claims from the fact of my faithfully naming the receipt of the sixty ducats, advanced to me by the late Prince in Prague, the Prince's counsel himself declaring that I might have said nothing about this sum, the late Prince not having mentioned it either to him or to his cashier. Forgive my being obliged to intrude this affair on you, but necessity compels me to do so. Some days hence I shall take the liberty of making inquiries on the subject from the Prince's counsel, or from any one Y.H. may appoint. I remain, most esteemed and illustrious Princess, Your devoted servant, LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN. [Footnote 1: See a letter to Ries, Nov. 22d, 1815:--"He was consumptive for some years, and, in order to make his life easier, I can safely compute what I gave him at 10,000 florins W.W."]" The annuity affair was settled on 18th Jan. 1815 and Beethoven was awarded the arrears of the stipend. Josef Gelinek (a Bohemian in Holy Orders) was piano tutor to his children See "Nobles and Nation in Central Europe: Free Impreial Knights In The Age Of Revolution, 1750-1850 By Jr. Godsey, William D. , Jr. Godsey" pps. Kinsky, family 160, 208 Kinsky, Prince Ferdinand (1781–1812) 159, 160 Kinsky, Princess Marie Charlotte, nâee Baroness Kerpen (1782–1841) 159–60, 161, 209