Maistre, Xavier De
MAISTRE, XAVIER DE (1763-1852), younger brother of Joseph de Maistre, was born at Chambery in October 1763. He served when young in the Piedmontese army, and wrote his delightful fantasy, Voyage autour de ma chambre (published 1794) when he was under arrest at Turin in consequence of a duel. Xavier shared the politics and the loyalty of his brother, and on the annexation of Savoy to France, he left the service, and took a commission in the Russian army. He served under Suvarov in his victorious Austro-Russian campaign and accompanied the marshal to Russia. He shared the disgrace of his general, and supported himself for some time in St Petersburg by miniature painting. But on his brother's arrival in St Petersburg he was introduced to the minister of marine. He was appointed to several posts in the capital, but also saw active service, was wounded in the Caucasus, and attained the rank of major-general. He married a Russian lady and established himself in his adopted country, even after the overthrow of Napoleon, and the consequent restoration of the Piedmontese dynasty. For a time, however, he lived at Naples, but he returned to St Petersburg and died there on the 12th of June 1852. He was only once in Paris (in 1839), when Sainte-Beuve, who has left some pleasant reminiscences of him, met him. Besides the Voyage already mentioned, Xavier de Maistre's works (all of which are of very modest dimensions) are Le Lepreux de la cite d'Aoste (1811), a touching little story of human misfortune; Les ' Prisonniers du Caucase, a powerful sketch of Russian character, La Jeune SMrienne, and the Expedition nocturne, a sequel to the Voyage autour de ma chambre (1825). His style is of remarkable ease and purity.
His works, with the exception of some brief chemical tractates, are included in the collections of Charpentier, Gamier, etc. See Sainte-Beuve's Portraits contemporains, vol. iii.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)