Conversations With Prince Metternich

Taken from Fraser’s Magazine, Volume 61, page 79

IT was in the early part of the winter of 1834 that I made the acquaintance of Prince Mettemich at Vienna. He had heard of the interest that I took in Dr. Gall’s system; and soon after my arrival in the Austrian capital, a lady, a mutual friend, and a relation of his wife, communicated to me the Prince’s wish to see me at his palace. I was told to go there any evening about ten, and I lost no time in profiting by the opportunity. I was ushered into the saloon of the Princess, the beautiful Melanie, born Countess Zichy Ferraris, whom I found surrounded by a small and somewhat noisy circle of relations and friends. It was however near eleven before the Prince entered. He immediately came up and entered into conversation with me without formality. We conversed in German. I was subsequently told that the Prince generally spoke French in his wife’s saloon, especially with strangers, but that he made an exception in my case, having heard of my proficiency in the former, and inability to speak the latter language with fluency.

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Expectations for the First Two Weeks

Update: The entry planned for Friday, September 9th will be published Saturday, September 12th.

Update September 3rd:  I’m moving the post scheduled for today, September 3rd, at 5 pm EST to today at 8 pm EST.  It may be released a few minutes before 8pm.

Update:  I’m pleased enough with the draft entry that was scheduled for September 4th that I am now moving it up to September 3rd at 7 AM EST.  The schedules of all other entries are unchanged.

We continue to be gratified by the enthusiastic response of readers.

Please make use of the instructions in the entry on comment registration to get yourselves setup with the blog.

We want to herd as many of you as possible into the kill zone of the comment section before we open fire on you all next Friday.  We are saving much political ammunition to mow you down with, and we aim to have you entirely in our cross-hairs before then.

Our sentiments about the commentariat are the same as those Hitchcock held about his actors:  our success is measured by how well we led you to the slaughter.

In the meantime, many of you have raised questions about what content to expect.  Specifically, what the hell are they talking about?  To satisfy your curiosity (up to a point) we’ve decided to give a general outline of what will be unfolded in the first two weeks.

Before we do that, I must thank all bloggers who have refrained from confirming or denying whether they are the royalist co-writer hinted at earlier.  Your actions to date help preserve a certain aura of mystery ahead of his grande re-entrance on the political stage.  Please continue to maintain your radio silence; whether you expect to applaud or jeer his return, waiting until Friday before making any statements will make your applause or jeers informed ones.  Any comment made earlier and you will not know what you are applauding or jeering.  We appreciate your patience.

Now, to hand you the right expectations for what has been scheduled:

The evening of September 2nd, probably at 6 pm EST:  A long interview with our co-host.  Expect the great instructor to go through imperialism, opposition to democracy, a surprising amount of sociobiology, the frailty of the British Tories, the death penalty, linguistics, and more.  There may even be an archduke or two who make a surprise visit to the saloon.

September 2nd, at the same time the interview is posted:  I take up the reigns with a statement of purpose.  Its release date was originally planned to be September 3rd, but it was decided to move it forward to Friday since the interview might be considered arcane material.  By doing this, our hope is extra context will be given to the interview.  My entry will feature a general overview of our ideological champion, Alexander Hamilton, and speak to his political relevance.  Pointers will be added about American and European history, something very, very, very special for French and German speakers, and general merriment.

September 4th (Update: I’m moving this entry up to September 3rd):  I go into the philosophy of state of Hamilton’s in more detail than the statement of purpose.

September 7th:  A full article written by his Excellency.   Topics include the Tsars of Russia, much supporting documentation, liberalism, a concise and – dare I say, definitive? – point or two about Protestantism, and more.

September 9th:  I will complement the article on September 7th with related material.

This thread is now open to your comments and questions.

Instructions for Comment Registration

We are happy to announce Pragmatically Distributed is open for comment registration.

The primary objective of the comment registration system is to give regular commenters the liberty to, without moderation, interact with the site; smooth the flow of conversation; minimize the amount of time dedicated to moderation; and wave through one time comments from lurkers, or those who are new to the blog but who need to build up enough trust to be granted real-time commenting privileges.

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Welcome & Announcements

So the reader may be prepared to engage productively with this site, a moment is taken to welcome them to Pragmatically Distributed, as well as to lay the groundwork for what expectations they should bring with them before articles are published.  We do so with the following announcements; the most important of which is that a conservative author, famous in literate circles, has agreed to appear regularly on this site in the role of co-writer and co-host.

While the option was mine to name him in this entry, I have decided against exercising it at this moment.  Instead, his identity – which you have all heard of in different mediums – will be held as a surprise, not to be revealed until September 2nd.  On that day his debut will take the form of a long interview.  This interview is intended to serve the reader as a re-introduction to the personality and character of the great man himself as much as it is a way to rekindle interest in his ideas.

I have postponed revealing him so that the reader may be preoccupied during the interval from now to the publishing of that interview debating who he is.

I will give more hints after making other announcements.

Before doing that, I do ask a favor of any other writer reading this to help, in the meantime, preserve a certain measure of surprise by playing along and not remarking whether they are, or not, the mystery writer.  Assuming your attention span is not measured in milliseconds, a wait of a week and a half will not cause harm to anyone.  Nor will waiting change the value of your praise, criticism, notes, or comments of any kind; they will be just as true or false next Friday as they would be if made today. The fewer the denials, the greater the surprise.

For remaining announcements:

Comment registration, which will allow commenters to post without moderation, starts tomorrow in a post featuring instructions for registration.

There will be no further posts between the entry on comment registration and the interview.

After our co-host returns on September 2nd, there will be additional posts by myself on the 3rd and 4th of September, another entry by our co-host on September 7th and another of my own on September 9th.

Articles thereafter will generally appear twice a week, with an end of week circular usually published on weekends to act as a general review and open thread.

Finally, the last set of hints about the identity of our distinguished guest:

He will be returning from a lengthy Sabbath during which he has said little despite the course of events proving him correct.

He is the greatest champion of his age of monarchy and imperialism.

He stands as one of the greatest conservatives in all of history.

His royal personage manages to be Imperial, but never imperious.

Although he looks down on you from on high with absolute contempt, his highly evolved sense of morality and basic decency prevents him from expressing those feelings explicitly.  Remember to thank him for that.

His essay on September 7th will contain a concise, yet definitive, statement on the legacy of Protestantism.

As I look over my own draft material, so heavily influenced by our co-writer’s years of prodigious work, and at the risk of getting ahead of myself, I must note that a synergy between his thoughts and my own is notable.

His work will be remembered for centuries long after you are all forgotten.

Guess who he is.