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Saint-Evremond, Charles De Marguetel De Saint-Denis

SAINT-EVREMOND, CHARLES DE MARGUETEL DE SAINT-DENIS, SEIGNEUR DE (1610-1703), was born at SaintDenis-le-Guast, near Coutances, the seat of his family in Normandy, on the 1st of April 1610. He was a pupil of the Jesuits at the College de Clermont (now Louis-le- Grand), Paris; then a student at Caen. For a time he studied law at the College d'Harcourt. He soon, however, took to arms, and in 1629 went with Marshal Bassompierre to Italy. He served through great part of the Thirty Years' War, distinguishing himself at the siege of Landrecies (1637), when he was made captain. During his campaigns he studied the works of Montaigne and the Spanish and Italian languages. In 1639 he met Gassendi in Paris, and became one of his disciples. He was present at Rocroy, at Nordlingen, and at Lerida. For a time he was personally attached to Conde, but offended him by a satirical remark and was deprived of his command in the prince's guards in 1648. During the Fronde, Saint-Evremond was a steady royalist. The duke of Candale (of whom he has left a very severe portrait) gave him a command in Guienne, and Saint-Evremond, who had reached the grade of marechal de camp, is said to have saved 50,000 livres in less than three years. He was one of the numerous victims involved in the fall of Fouquet. His letter to Marshal Crequi on the peace of the Pyrenees, which is said to have been discovered by Colbert's agents at the seizure of Fouquet 's papers, seems a very inadequate cause for his disgrace. SaintEvremond fled to Holland and to England, where he was kindly received by Charles II. and was pensioned. After James II. 's flight to France Saint-Evremond was invited to return, but he declined. Hortense Mancini, the most attractive of Mazarin's attractive group of nieces, came to England in 1670, and set up a salon for love-making, gambling and witty conversation, and here Saint-Evremond was for many years at home. He died on the 2gth of September 1703 and was buried in Westminster Abbey, where his monument still is in Poet's Corner close to that of Prior.

Saint-Evremond never authorized the printing of any of his works during his lifetime, though Barbin in 1668 published an unauthorized collection. But he empowered Des Maizeaux to publish his works after his death, and they were published in London (2 vols., 1705), and often reprinted. His masterpiece in irony is the so-called Conversation du marechal d'Hocquincourt avec Ic pere Canaye (the latter a Jesuit and Saint-Evremond's master at school), which has been frequently classed with the Lettres provinciates.

His (Euvres melees, edited from the MSS. by Silvestre and Des Maizeaux, were printed by Jacob Tonson (London. 1705 2 vols 2nd ed., 3 vols., 1709), with a notice by Des Maizeaux. His correspondence with Ninon de Lenclos, whose fast friend he was was published m 1752; La Comedie des academistes, written in 1641 was printed in 1650. Modern editions of his works are by Hippeau .Pans 1852) C.Giraud (Paris, 1865), and a selection (1881) with a notice by M. de Lescure.

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

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