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the same stock to whom Francis I. allud- 1 of interest by dedicating to him, when ed in his memorable challenge : “Here scarcely a year old, the great work ("Oriare four of us, gentlemen of La Guyenne : ental Memoirs” in forty-two volumes J. Sauzac, Montalembert, and La quarto) by which the name of Forbes was Chasteigneraye, ready to encounter all to live for ages to come. He watched
The parental grandfather of over his young charge with the fondest our hero was an emigrant; his maternal affection; but Charles was eight when it grandfather a retired Indian merchant or was finally determined, after a painful civil servant; and Mrs. Oliphant, after struggle for both, that he should go to expatiating on the beautiful melancholy school at Fulham, and the event is thus face, replete with tragic associations,” of announced in a letter, dated Albemarle the expatriated noble, exclaims :
Street, 28th April 1818, from the grand
father to the mother : Thus stands Jean de Montalembert at one side of the portal; and on the other James The day of our separation arrived last week, Forbes, with trim peruke and calm counte- to me a trial of no common kind, for except nance, strong in English order, prosperity, and at short intervals, I have never lived alone for progress, expecting nothing but good, hearing fifty-one years until now, and I felt it deeply. of nothing but victory, raises with cheerful I told him I would take him after breakfast, confidence the curtain of life for the new actor or, if he liked it better, he might dine with me about to step upon that tragic stage. No and we would go to the school in the evening. young beginner could have had predecessors He hesitated a little and then said: “As I am more perfect in their typical character; no new to go, I had rather go at once.” soul could have more perfectly embodied in
They set off accordingly, and, when one those two great currents of the past.*
about half-way, the boy suddenly fung The father, Marc René, the son of his arms round the grandfather's neck Jean, had served with the British army and adjured him by the love of truth in India, and thus, it would seem, became which he had so sedulously inculcated, to acquainted with Mr. Forbes. Instead of answer one question truly : settling down in England, he and his
“You know, my dear grandpapa, that I have wife were constantly on the move. By left my papa and mamma, my brother and some lucky accident he carried the first sister at Stuttgart, to be your child; and now news of the abdication of Napoleon to you and I are everything to each other until Louis XVIII. ; and in due season he was we see them again. Tell me therefore — but rewarded for his zeal and fidelity by be- you must tell me truly — if since we left Paris ing named a peer of France and minister I have been the boy you expected and wished
me to be, and if you love me as much as when plenipotentiary to Stuttgart. We must suppose that the Scotch wife we were there all together?” It was almost
too much for me; but I could with truth assure was as-much absorbed by political move- him that he had been all, and even more than ments and intrigues as the French hus- all, 1 anticipated. Then said he, “I am the band, and was equally ready to throw off happiest boy in the world, nor shall I drop the parental cares and duties which might one tear when you leave me;" nor did he. have interfered with the exciting stir and
He lost his affectionate grandfather in bustle of her life ; for, from the time he the course of the following year, and was fifteen months old, the boy was forthwith took up his abode in Paris with given over entirely to the keeping of his father and mother, who were too James Forbes, who had already afforded much occupied with diplomacy and sothe strongest and strangest manifestation
ciety to pay much attention to the bring
ing up of their children : Charles, Arthur In a letter, dated 26th June, 1869, Montalembert
(two years younger), and Elise. The first writes to the present Earl of Granard, who had sent him a copy of the Memoirs of the family, - "Vous glimpses we get of his mental progress voulez bien, my Lord, me rappeler que je suis issu par are from the diaries which he began na mère, de la même souche que vous. J'ai en effet keeping when he was thirteen, and contoujours entendu ma mère, née Forbes, et mon grandpère maternel, s'enorgueillir de leur descendance des tinued with occasional breaks through cantes de Granard."
life. At this early age he anticipated the
conclusion to which a grave scholar and pected, that England is the first nation statesman was brought by experience in the world.” that life would be tolerable but for its A French college has something in amusements; and he appreciated time common with both an English college like a grey-headed philosopher. More and an English public school, without than one record of a so-called pleasure exactly resembling either. Montalemparty concludes ; “Day, lost, like so bert entered the College Sainte-Barbe many others.” He was already a politi- (now Rollin) at sixteen and left it at ninecian, and a proselytizing one; for we teen. Amongst the warm and lasting find him exacting an oath of eternal fidel- ties he formed there was his friendship ity to the Charter from his little brother, for M. Léon Cornudet, who, along with who, puzzled and half frightened by his many other interesting memorials of their earnestness, recoils with a protest : “ Mais boyish days, has published (in the “Conqu'est-ce que c'est que la Charte ?” temporain") a solemn league and coveCharles knew very well what it was, for nant by which they pledged themselves in September, 1824, there is an entry that to God and each other, to serve their Louis XVIII. died after a long illness, country to the best of their ability, and which he endured with an heroic patience consecrate their lives to the cause of God worthy of the august author of the and Freedom. This document was sug“ Charte Constitutionnelle.”
gested and drawn up by Montalembert, He was fourteen when the Abbé Nicolle, who proposed that they should sign it in head of the Collége Sainte-Barbe, in- blood ; to which his calmer associate obduced his parents to place him under a jected, that blood drawn for such a purregular course of study, and was at the pose was not exactly the same as blood pains of examining him from time to time shed for a great cause on a battle-field; to judge of his proficiency. To the entry and the two signatures were affixed in of one of these examinations, when M. ordinary ink. He was seventeen at the Nicolle expressed himself satisfied, he date of the signature, and about the same appends," which is more than I am my time (April 23, 1827) he wrote down self.” He is wearied to death by what is amongst the meditations in his commoncalled society, regards the theatre as a place book,penance, and is absolutely indignant at the notion that he should be supposed
God and Liberty - these are the two printo need distraction or could find en
cipal motive-powers of my existence. To joyment in un-idea'd idleness. It was aim of my life!
reconcile these two perfections shall be the the sage remark of Falstaff, “There's never any of these demure boys come to Going over these memorials of the past any proof ; ” but Montalembert was in long after years he has written opposite rather a serious and thoughtful than a this entry, in red ink, the word Déjà !!! demure boy. There was a strong dash It is certainly a most remarkable anticipaof romance in his day-dreams and self- tion of what was to come; and we should communings ; and his reading was calcu- be puzzled to specify another career or lated to foster the imagination as well as character of anything like the same emito mature the judgment and supply the nence which was so clearly shadowed out memory with facts. It appears from the at every step of its formation or its Journal that he had read Shakespeare's growth. We call especial attention to best plays carefully and critically. The this phenomenon, for it is the best anTempest"
” he finds “sublime in some swer to the imputations so frequently lerparts, but in others ridiculous :” the elled at his consistency. His probable * Midsummer Night's Dream,” “ un pen liability to them even then dawned upon ennuyeux : "
“ Twelfth Night” him : « What shall I do? What will bediocre ;
but “ King Lear," "sublime; come of me.? How shall I reconcile my Hamlet,” “divine ; “Othello,” ardent patriotism with religion?" He “ too touching."
would neither have found nor feared any It is a curious fact that his “De difficulty of the kind if he had meant rel'Avenir politique de l'Angleterre was ligion in the broad sense of the term. dimly foreshadowed in a diary of his fif- He was clearly speculating on the diffiteenth year, when à propos of a work on culty of reconciling love of country with English institutions (De Lolme) he sets ardent uncompromising devotion to the down, “ Few works have produced so Catholic Church. In August, 1828, he much impression upon me as this. It records a fixed determination to write is has convinced me of what I had long sus- Igreat work on the politics and philosophy
of Christianity, and, with a view to its on the way to see everything worth seecompletion, to waste no more time on the ing, and duly recording his impressions politics or history of his own time. Three as they arise. Received at once into the notes of admiration in red ink are set gay circles of the Swedish capital, he was against this entry in the original journal. with difficulty induced to lay aside his He attends the debates in the Chamber stiffness and reserve ; his manner natuof Peers, and finds them d'une médiocrité rally enough gave offence to the lighteffrayante. In fact his thoughts, his hearted and haply frivolous companions plans, his subjects of interest, were those who were forced upon him ; he was voted of a matured intellect, of a formed man, a prig; and it was not till some time after who felt “cabin'd, cribb’d, confined” with his arrival, when his really gentle and unin the walls of á lecture room ; and we assuming nature began to be recognized, can well believe that it was a glowing that one of the leading belles, the Comrecollection of what he had suffered from tesse d'Ugglas, ventured to confide to want of free expansion for body and mind him that she had thought him pédant et at Sainte-Barbe, in the universitarian bar-altier. This was a stunning blow to his rack as he called it, that made him long self-love, and a valuable lesson which (he after exclaim at Eton : “What a differ- intimates) he was not likely to forget. ence between this place and the houses Happen what might, in whatever society, where we were educated — true prisons congenial or uncongenial, he might be walled up between two streets in Paris, thrown, he would never merit the descripeverywhere surrounded by roofs and tion of pédant et altier again. He actually chimneys, with two rows of miserable consents to take part in a special quadtrees in the midst of a paved or gravelled rille, got up for a ball at the French emcourt, and a wretched walk every week or bassy "which,” he says, “we were to fortnight among the suburban lanes !” have the absurdity of dancing before the
Yet he quitted Sainte-Barbe with re- king and queen ; the ladies initiated gret. His pained and softened fancy him into its mysteries, and (as he conranged over and reproduced hours upon fesses with a mixture of shame and comhours of consciously improving study or placency) it went off very well. All this delightful interchange of heart and mind; time he is studying the institutions of the and he must now look his last of the fa- country, drawing grave political conclumiliar places and faces, must break away sions, and keeping his enthusiasm for from his books and his loved companions, great things alive by corresponding with to be thrown upon the wide world, and his friends. “Do not, I beseech you," become more deeply impressed than ever he writes to Rio, “abandon yourself to with “ the profound uselessness of life." that political discouragement which Burke "Je me fais vieux,” he sets down ; giving justly calls the most fatal of all maladies. vent to a sentiment of frequent recurrence Do not despair of the cause which you in the mouths of young people in their have adopted, or give up sound princiteens. Far from looking forward with ples, because a generation without faith fervent expectations of enjoyment to his and without soul seems to dishonour them approaching introduction to society, he by pretended attachment." foresaw no gratification in mingling un- In another letter to Rio he says, “ I am distinguished in the crowd :
reading Kant, which I find horribly diffi
cult. M. Cousin recommended me to “I can imagine Pitt or Fox coming out of the House of Commons where they had struck give myself up to this study; but I shall their adversaries dumb by their eloquence, and not follow his advice.” He distrusted enjoying a dinner-party. I can imagine Grat- Kant's philosophy, as tending to undertan amusing himself, after fifty years of glory, mine faith, and he lent a ready ear to the playing hide-and-seek with children. But for Abbé Studach, of whom he says, “ I have an obscure and unknown individual, lost in the made a precious discovery here, that of a crowd of other men, or at the best numbered Catholic priest, who is at the same time a only among the élégants who feel themselves philosopher, and who believes that faith obliged to wander every evening into three or may be reached by knowledge. His tolfour houses where they are half stifled under eration is as great as his knowledge." pretence of enjoying themselves, I see neither The abbé brought him acquainted with a pleasure nor honour in it. I see only a, culpa- school boasting numerous disciples in ble loss of time, and mortal weariness."
the Bavarian and Austrian universities, In this mood he starts to join his fa- which undertook to combine religion with ther, then French ambassador at Stock- philosophy; but metaphysics were never holm, vià Belgium and Holland, lingering much to his taste, and he was wont to
arrive at conviction by a shorter road | There is a well-known saying of his, than argument. Truths divine did not quoted by M. Fossier, “ Je suis le premier come to him mended by the tongue of a de mon sang qui n'ai querroyé qu'avec la theologian : they came by insight, by in- plume ; mais qu'elle devienne un glaive tuition, by inspiration ; and they went à son tour.” He had no real military arforth from him with the lightning flash of dour, and the pen in his hands was a genius, in spontaneous and irresistible more trenchant weapon than the sword. bursts. Burke and Grattan attracted During this interval of suspense he him far more than Kant and Schelling. wrote an article on Sweden, which was “Grattan above all,” says Rio, “as the submitted to M. Guizot, as editor of the unwearied champion of the greatest of “ Revue Française,” for insertion in that causes, acquired rapidly the grandeur of periodical. It was accepted upon condithe hero of a crusade to the eyes of his tion that it should be cut down to half its young admirer, whose enthusiasm, height-length ; and he submitted to this Proened day by day by the fame of O'Con- crustean process, the most painful act of nell's patriotic orations, led him a little self-sacrifice that can be imposed on a later to make an excursion, full of attrac- young writer, with an expression of detions for him, into the country of that spair, “ Encore une illusion perdue.” great man.”
Finding it still too long, M. Guizot ruthSteeped to the lips in Irish oratory, he lessly struck out those very passages resolves to write a history of Ireland, which Montalembert considered the gems which was to be partly founded upon the of the composition, especially a spirited speeches of Grattan, and to include trans- sketch of the soldier king of Sweden, lations of the most remarkable passages. Bernadotte, whom he describes as a true This plan, including a journey to the Gascon : “ He told my father that he Green Isle — this projet adorable — was considered himself the natural subject of suddenly suspended by a domestic be- Charles X., and that should that monarch reavement. The failing health of his ever require his services, he would leave only sister, Elise, four or five years his throne to his son, and hasten, a simyounger than himself, to whom, since he ple soldier, to offer his sword to his native was domesticated with her at Stockholm, Sovereign." he had become passionately attached, re- About the same time Montalembert quired a warmer climate, and the duty formed his first connection with the “Cordevolved on him of accompanying her respondant” by contributing to it an arand her mother across Germany to the ticle on Ireland which was by no means South. They arrived at Besançon on the an unqualified success ;, for he subseevening of the 29th October, 1829. She quently records of this and the Swedish asked him to sit up with her that night, article that one of his friends found the to which the mother objected, and she first wearisome and the second commonwas left to the care of her maid ; but in place. His father, however, who hapthe middle of the night he was summoned pened to be in Paris at this time, was deto what in a few hours was to be her lighted by the article on Ireland, as indeath-bed. The Cardinal de Rohan, dicating a talent which he had never Archbishop of Besançon, administered suspected in his son ; and the literary a the last sacraments, and offered whatever pirant was cordially received as a confrère consolation could be afforded to the by the leading men of letters — Victor brother and mother ; but Montalembert Hugo, Sainte-Beuve, and Lamartine. left Besançon in the deepest compunction Had he foreseen the dangers impendand despondency, heartbroken at the ing over his cherished Charter, it may be thought that, unconscious of her danger, doubted whether he would have left Paris he had reluctantly abandoned his Irish on his Irish expedition till the cloud had expedition to accompany her.
burst or blown over. But it was at LonMany months ensued before he could don, where he had just arrived, that he shake off his melancholy, brace his mind heard the startling news of the Revoluto a fresh effort or even fix it on a definite tion of July, which, at the first blush, he object. He was left free to choose a ca- was disposed to hail as “a sublime vicreer, but was utterly unable to make a tory.” Mortified at not having been choice. At one time he was disposed to present to aid in it, and eager to retrieve take holy orders : at another he com- the lost opportunity, he immediately menced the study of the law; and under returned to Paris, where his ardour a passing impulse he thought of joining rapidly cooled down, after a calm view of the army of Algiers as simple soldat. I the situation in reference to the personal
as well as public consequences which it brought him back to his original convicinvolved. His father was on the eve of tion that O'Connell was the heaven-born resigning his post as ambassador : his advocate of the most sacred of causes – brother, one of the royal pages, had a man to whom no impartial historian escaped through a window at the peril of would refuse the epithet of “great.” his life, and was equally without a career. Mrs. Oliphant thinks that it was this The abolition of the hereditary peerage visit to Ireland that decided the future of was threatened, and, with it, the road to Montalembert. He had come to see the distinction on which he had confidently Liberator and was disappointed, but he reckoned. The cause of the Church was had seen the Island of the Saints, the not likely to be advanced by the change island in which Liberty was making comof dynasty, and, as to freedom, he was cause with Faith, in which the not many days in arriving at the conclu- standard of patriotism was waved from sion that “it never gains by such violent the altar by the priest; and he came movements : it lives by slow and succes- back burning with eagerness to bring sive conquests, perseverance, and pa- about a conjunction of the same kind in tience.” In a word, the glorious Three France. But if the train was laid in this Days grew less and less glorious as he fashion, it was fired by his being brought dwelt upon them: his sympathies, by into simultaneous contact with two men some law of his nature, were invariably who more or less influenced all the with the losers in the political conflict: remainder of his life. These were the Je n'aime pas les causes victorieuses, was Abbé de la Mennais and the Père Lacorhis frequent avowal :
daire. Victrix causa Diis placuit, sed victa Catoni.
Félicité de la Mennais, born 19th June,
1782, at Saint-Malo, was the son of a In this state of uncertainty as to the line shipowner who had received letters of he should take in French politics, his nobility from Louis XVI., so that he was views reverted to Ireland, and in the legally entitled to the noble prefix which, August of that momentous year, 1830, he in a fit of democratic equality, he laid is crossing the mountains of Kerry, on aside after 1834. Neglected by his hts way to "interview” the Liberator. father, whom he had offended by refusing He travelled on horseback with a lively to engage in commerce, he was adopted and intelligent Irish boy for his guide. by an uncle, who left him to himself with The weather and the splendid scenery the use of a good library. His unguided were at their best. His spirits rose, his reading was of the most desultory kind, bosom swelled, his expectations were on until he was fifteen, when, resolving to tiptoe, when he dismounted from his pursue a regular course of study, he took hired steed at Derrynane. But here, up his abode with his brother in a retired alas! the picturesque part of the pilgrim- house near Dinan, where, besides amasage ended, and prosaic reality began. sing an immense amount of classical and The motley frieze-coated throng that general erudition, he mastered the Fabesieged the entrance, squabbling and thers and historians of the Church. He vociferating about their own petty griev- took the tonsure in 1811, and entered the ances, was not a favourable example of a little seminary of Saint-Malo, founded by nation rising in its majesty for the vindi- his brother, but made no further step in cation of its rights; and the figure of the the ecclesiastical profession till 1815, great man himself, which had loomed so when he was ordained priest by the grandly at a distance through the mist, Bishop of Rennes, having first written to was reduced to very moderate dimensions his sister that it most assuredly was not by familiarity and proximity. Nor was his taste that he indulged in deciding for his enthusiasm revived by seeing O'Con-it. A tract, in which he had assailed nell, soon afterwards, the centre of a Napoleon at the beginning of 1814, comnumerous and disorderly meeting, at pelled him to take refuge in England which, adapting his tone to his audience, during the Hundred Days, and for some he exhibited the rude coarseness of the time after his return and settlement in demagogue and indulged in language Paris he was glad to earn his livelihood rather vernacular than high-flown. But as an assistant tutor to the Abbé Carron his inexperienced critic lived to learn in a school. One fine morning he awoke that popular influence is not obtained or and found himself famous, or (to use his retained by pure patriotism or heroic own words) he found himself invested fights, any more than revolutions are with the power of Bossuet. The first made with rose-water; and due reflection I volume of his “Essai sur l'Indifférence