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Montmorency, Mathieu Jean Felicite De Montmorency-Laval, Duc De

MONTMORENCY, MATHIEU JEAN FELICITE DE MONTMORENCY-LAVAL, DUC DE (1766-1826), French politician, was born in Paris on the 10th of July 1766. He served with his father, the vicomte de Laval, in America, and returned to France imbued with democratic opinions. Mathieu de Montmorency was governor of Compiegne when he was returned as deputy to the states-general in 1789, where he joined the Third Estate and sat on the left of the Assembly. He moved the abolition of armorial bearings on the 19th of June 1790. The dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in September 1791 set him free to join Liickner's army on the frontier early in the next year. After the revolution of the loth of August he abandoned his revolutionary principles; and he took no part in politics under the empire. At the Restoration he was promoted marechal de camp, and accompanied Louis XVIII. to Ghent during the Hundred Days. At the second restoration he was made a peer of France, and two years later received the title of viscount. He adopted strong reactionary and ultramontane views, and became minister of foreign affairs under Villele in 1821. He recommended armed intervention in Spain at the Congress of Verona in October 1822, but he resigned in December, being compensated by the title of duke and the cross of the Legion of Honour in the next year. He was elected to the French Academy in 1825, though he appears to have had small qualifications for the honour, and in the next year became tutor to the six-year-old Henri, duke of Bordeaux (afterwards known as the comte de Chambord). He died two months after receiving this last appointment, on the 24th of March 1826.

See Vetillard, Notice sur la vie de M. le due Mathieu de Montmorency (Le Mans, 1826), and, for his curious relations with Mme de Stael, P. Gautier, Mathieu de Montmorency et Mme de Stael, d'apres les lettres inedites de M. de Montmorency a Mme Necker de Saussure (1908).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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