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MONTALEMBERT


514


MONTALEMBERT


insurgents. When the " Agence goni^rale pour la de- fense de hi hbcrli^ rehgiouse" (Central committee for the safeguarding of religious liberty), founded by the editors of L'Avenir", had solemnly dcelared war on the nionoiioly of the French University by opening a primary school (9 May, 1S31), Montalembert was indicted. As at this time by his father's death on 20 June, 1S31, he became a peer of France, he demanded that he be tried by the House of Peers; and the famous "Free School Case" was heard before that assembly, 19 and 20 September, 1831.

The speech delivered by Montalembert on that oc- casion was a gem of eloquence. The trial ended in his condemnation to a fine of one hundred francs; but his eloquence succeeded in calling public attention to the question of freedom of teaching, which was destined not to be solved until 1S50. \\hen the last number of "L'Avenir" ap])eared (15 November, 1831), Monta- lembert accompanied Lacordaire and Lamennais to Rome. While in March, 1832, La- cordaire divined the wishes of Greg- ory XVI, and re- turned to France, Montalembert persisted in re- maining in Rome with Lamennais, who insisted on a public decision by the pope concern- ing "L'Avenir". It was not until July that they left KdMie, and the 1 niyclical"Mirari \c>s", which over- took them at Mu- nich, was a cause of great sorrow to them. Montalem- bert submitted at once, and when early in 1833 Lamennais aiuiounced his intention of again taking up his editorial work, except- ing the field of theology, and concerning himself only with social and political questions, Montalembert did all he could to dissuade him from so imprudent a step. When Gregory XVI by his Brief dated 5 October, 1833, found fault with the "long and violent preface" Montalembert had written for Mickiewicz's "Livre des Pelerins Polonais" and when at the end of that same year Lamennais broke away from the Church, Montalembert passed through a period of much sor- row, during which the advice of Lacordaire heljjed him greatly. He tried in 1834 to dissuade Lamennais from publishing "Les Paroles d'un Croyant", and in vain besought him to submit to the Encyclical "Singulari nos" of 7 July, 1834. He submitted to all Gregory's decisions (8 December, 1834) and his correspondence with Lamennais ceased definitely in 1836.

In 1836 he published his "Vie de Sainto Elizabeth de Hongrie" which restored hagiography in France and brought back to Catholics a taste for the super- natural as shown in the lives of the saints. On 16 August, 1836, Abb6 Gerbet blessed his marriage with Mile de Merode, daughter of the Felix de Merode who had taken such an important part in the insurrection of the Belgian Catholics against the government of the Low Countries, and who was descended from Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. She was the sister of Xavier de Merode, afterwards minister of Pius IX.

In the House of Peers, Montalembert took pride in presenting himself as a Catholic first of all, at a time when as he himself wrote, "to profess or defend the Catholic faith one had to face marked unpopularity". In May, 1837, he spoke in favour of the right of the


Church to own property; in Dec, 1838, when ec- clesiastical burial had been refused to Montlosier by Bishop I'Yron of Clermont , he reiilied in the name of the liberty of the Church t(i those who assailed this purely ecclesiastical act. He .seconded with all his influence the re-establishment of the Benedictines by Dom Gu(ranger, and of the Dominicans by Lacor- daire, and in 1841 he obtained from Martin ilu Nord, Minister of Worship, permission for Lacordaire to wear his monastic dress in the pulpit of Notre Dame. "LTnivers Religieux", a daily paperfounded in 1834 by Abbe Migne, owed its solvency in ISiiS t o ))ccuniary sacrifices made by Montalembert, and it schju passed into the hands of Louis Veuillot. In June, 1S4.') Monta- lembert questioned the government concerning the measiu-es it was about to take against the Jesuits, and a few days later, when the concessions made by the Holy See to Rossi, whom Guizot had sent to Rome, had brought about the partial dispersion of the French Jesuits, he loudly expressed his surprise and sorrow. "You are our father, our support, our friend", wrote Pere de Ravignan to him. In the House he, more- over, defended the interests of foreign Catholics; in 1845, at the time of the Lebanon massacres, he ques- tioned Guizot as to what France was doing to protect Christians in the East; in 1846 he questioned him concerning the m.assacres committed by Austria in Galicia, and the cruelties ])ractised against the Poles of that province; on 11 January, 1848, he enthusias- tically praised the hopes Pius IX held out to the Italian people, and reproached the government of France for the lukewarm sujjport it gave the new pope against Metternich; on 14 January, 1848 in a speech on the Sonderbund, the finest, perhaps, he ever ut- tered, he impeached European radicalism, and pro- claimed that France, in the face of Radicalism, was "destined to uphold the flag and safeguard the rights of liberty". Never did a speech so carry men away, wrote Sainte-Beuve.

But it was especially to secure liberty of teaching (see France and Falloux du Coudray) that Monta- lembert devoted his efforts. In 1839 he addressed an eloquent letter to Villemain, minister of public in- struction, demanding that liberty; in 1841 under press- ure from the episcopate, he compelled Villemain to withdraw a bill on education because it was not suffi- ciently liberal; in his pamphlet " Du Devoir des Catho- liques dans la question de la libertc d'enseignement", published in 1843, he summoned the Catholics to take part in the struggle. On 16 .\pril, 1844, in the House of Peers, he undertook the defence of the bishops who had attacked a second bill brought in by Villemain, and he replied to Dupin, who demantled the punish- ment of the bi.shops: "We are the sons of the crusad- ers; and we shall never yield to the sons of Voltaire"; then again he took an active part in the discussion of the bill, which owing to Villemain's mental infirmity was abandoned. Between 184.j and islil he solicited petitions among the laity in supjKJrt of liberty of edu- cation, and he succeeded in ha\'ing 140 supjiorters of educational liberty elected as deputies in 1846. In 1847 he renewed the attack on the bill introduced by Salvandy and declared it unacceptable. The July monarchy fell before the question was settled. The Revolution of 1848 respected the rights of the Church and Pius IX, 26 March, 1848, wrote to Montalem- bert: "We gladly believe that it is in part owing to your eloquence, which has endeared your name to your generous countrj'men, that no harm has been done to religion or its ministers".

Under the Second Republic Montalembert, in reply to Victor Hugo, who criticized the sending of a French expedition to aid Pius IX, declared amid the applause of two-thirds of the Constituent Assembly that the Church is "a mother, the mother of Europe, the mother of modem society". Once more he took tip the struggle for liberty of education; in 1849, togcthi^r