WI: Louis Antoine, Duc D'Enghien escapes Napoleon's grasp?

Louis Antoine, Duke of Enghien (1772-1804) was a French nobleman belonging to the House of Bourbon. After the execution of Louis XVI and his son Louis XVII, Louis Antoine was one of the few remaining claimants to the throne, commanding an émigré corps during the opening coalition wars of the 1790's.
As the ambitious Napoleon Bonaparte took over the French Republic and began displaying autocratic desires, he began perceiving Louis Antoine as an obstacle to his consolidation of power. Around march 1804, the Duke was residing at his private house in the Margraviate of Baden when he was surprised by what seemed to be a party of French dragoons, who subsequently captured him and took him to France. There, he was executed. Napoleon shortly after crowned himself Emperor of France, despite the dismay and concern expressed by the other European powers at the killing of Louis Antoine.
So, my question is: what if Louis Antoine, Duke D'Enghien, had managed to be forewarned of the flying column sent to kidnap him and escaped Baden, as far away as possible from Napoleon's claws? Where would he go? How would he interact with the belligerents of the forming Third Coalition?
If the Napoleonic Wars proceed as OTL but Louis Antoine remains firmly unreachable by the armies of the Emperor, how differently would the Bourbon Restoration play out?
 
Was it about this incident that Talleyrand said it was worse than a crime, it was a mistake?

The assassination damaged Napoleon abroad but strengthened his position at home (it showed he was ruthless) so I'm not sure how different things will be. I have a hard time thinking they will just march on unchanged, though.
 

Grey Wolf

Gone Fishin'
Was it about this incident that Talleyrand said it was worse than a crime, it was a mistake?

The assassination damaged Napoleon abroad but strengthened his position at home (it showed he was ruthless) so I'm not sure how different things will be. I have a hard time thinking they will just march on unchanged, though.

Yes, his international credibility was savaged

Whether D'Enghien could or would emerge as much of figure in his own right, I don't know. I can't remember his lineage, but he was the last of a branch. But there were others with stronger claims out there - the future Charles X for example
 
Louis Antoine, Duke of Enghien (1772-1804) was a French nobleman belonging to the House of Bourbon. After the execution of Louis XVI and his son Louis XVII, Louis Antoine was one of the few remaining claimants to the throne, commanding an émigré corps during the opening coalition wars of the 1790's.
As the ambitious Napoleon Bonaparte took over the French Republic and began displaying autocratic desires, he began perceiving Louis Antoine as an obstacle to his consolidation of power. Around march 1804, the Duke was residing at his private house in the Margraviate of Baden when he was surprised by what seemed to be a party of French dragoons, who subsequently captured him and took him to France. There, he was executed. Napoleon shortly after crowned himself Emperor of France, despite the dismay and concern expressed by the other European powers at the killing of Louis Antoine.
So, my question is: what if Louis Antoine, Duke D'Enghien, had managed to be forewarned of the flying column sent to kidnap him and escaped Baden, as far away as possible from Napoleon's claws? Where would he go? How would he interact with the belligerents of the forming Third Coalition?
If the Napoleonic Wars proceed as OTL but Louis Antoine remains firmly unreachable by the armies of the Emperor, how differently would the Bourbon Restoration play out?


IIRC, the Duke was implicated (deservedly or not) in a plot to kill Napoleon, which was almost successful and Nappy decided that it should be demonstrated that the things like that would not go unpunished no matter what. As a personage, the Duke was pretty much unimportant both politically and militarily.

Of course, his death was used as an excuse for starting the War of the 3rd Coalition but, IIRC, most of the noice had been made by a person who was the least relevant to the event, AI (the Bourbons were not popular in Russia). Besides, out of all rulers of Europe AI should be the last person to make noises about a murder of a member of the royal family being himself implicated not just in a regicide but also in a murder of his own father. However, his anti-Napoleonic/pro-British policy started from the first day of his reign (and he eventually succeed in getting Austria and Sweden on board). So if d’Enghien is not executed some other excuse would be found and Taleyrand’s famous statement was just a witticism.
 
IIRC, the Duke was implicated (deservedly or not) in a plot to kill Napoleon, which was almost successful and Nappy decided that it should be demonstrated that the things like that would not go unpunished no matter what. As a personage, the Duke was pretty much unimportant both politically and militarily.

Of course, his death was used as an excuse for starting the War of the 3rd Coalition but, IIRC, most of the noice had been made by a person who was the least relevant to the event, AI (the Bourbons were not popular in Russia). Besides, out of all rulers of Europe AI should be the last person to make noises about a murder of a member of the royal family being himself implicated not just in a regicide but also in a murder of his own father. However, his anti-Napoleonic/pro-British policy started from the first day of his reign (and he eventually succeed in getting Austria and Sweden on board). So if d’Enghien is not executed some other excuse would be found and Taleyrand’s famous statement was just a witticism.
Looks likely who Napoleon received a wrong report about Enghien’s companions and believed who the Duke was associated with some very dangerous men and they were planning an invasion of France so he decided to act for first and capture the Duke. After that he discovered who both the dangerous men (for France) associated with Enghien were different (and not dangerous) people but he had already captured the Duke and needed to do something with him...

Alexander I was likely also trying to demonstrate who he had nothing to do with his father’s assassination...
 
Looks likely who Napoleon received a wrong report about Enghien’s companions and believed who the Duke was associated with some very dangerous men and they were planning an invasion of France so he decided to act for first and capture the Duke. After that he discovered who both the dangerous men (for France) associated with Enghien were different (and not dangerous) people but he had already captured the Duke and needed to do something with him...

Alexander I was likely also trying to demonstrate who he had nothing to do with his father’s assassination...

By the time in question invasion of France by the emigrants was, shall we say, not too likely but assassination attempt was quite real and “making an example” on a member of the Bourbon family could look to Nappy as a reasonable thing to do regardless the real merits. Which does not mean that this was a wise political move but I would not overestimate its impact on the following events.

I like your comment about AI. :)
 
IIRC the main reason that Enghien was fingered was because Napoléon WANTED to strike at the Bourbons and Enghien was simply the closest target. The other version is that Napoléon wanted to eliminate the ONE person in the Bourbon family who was ACTUALLY something to worry about (LXVIII was old and fat, Artois was old and useless, Abgoulême was was neurotic (apparently he suffered from a sort of PTSD), Berri was a "good time Harry"), Enghien was young, active and anti-Napoléon.

@JonasResende @Emperor Constantine
 
Top