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ARGENSON

valuable “materials for the history of his time.” There are two important editions, the first, with some letters, not elsewhere published, by the marquis d’Argenson, his great-grand-nephew (5 vols., Paris, 1857 et seq.); the second, more correct, but less complete, published by J. B. Rathery, for the Société de l’Histoire de France (9 vols., Paris, 1859 et seq.). The other works of the marquis d’Argenson, in MS., were destroyed in the fire at the Louvre library in 1871.

See Sainte-Beuve, Causeries du lundi (vols. xii. and xiv.); Levasseur. “Le Marquis d’Argenson” in the Mémoires de l’Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques (vol. lxxxvii., 1868); and, especially, E. Zevort, Le Marquis d’Argenson et le ministère des affaires étrangères (Paris, 1880). See also G. de R. de Flassan, Histoire de la diplomatie française (2nd ed., 1811); Voltaire, Siècle de Louis XV.; E. Boutaric, Correspondance secrète inédite de Louis XV. (1866); E. Champion, “Le Marquis d’Argenson,” in the Révolution française (vol. xxxvi., 1899); A. Alem, D’Argenson économiste (Paris, 1899); Arthur Ogle, The Marquis d’Argenson (1893).

Marc Pierre de Voyer de Paulmy, comte d’Argenson (1696-1764), younger brother of the preceding, was born on the 16th of August 1696. Following the family tradition he studied law and was councillor at the parlement of Paris. He succeeded his father as lieutenant-general of police in Paris, but held the post only five months (January 26 to June 30, 1720). He then received the office of intendant of Tours, and resumed the lieutenancy of police in 1722. On the 2nd of January 1724 he was appointed councillor of state. He gained the confidence of the regent Orleans, administering his fortune and living with his son till 1737. During this period he opened his salon to the philosophers Chaulieu, la Fare and Voltaire, and collaborated in the legislative labours of the chancellor d’Aguesseau. In March 1737 d’Argenson was appointed director of the censorship of books, in which post he showed sufficiently liberal views to gain the approval of writers—a rare thing in the reign of Louis XV. He only retained this post for a year. He became president of the grand council (November 1738), intendant of the généralité of Paris (August 1740), was admitted to the king’s council (August 1742), and in January 1743 was appointed secretary of state for war in succession to the baron de Breteuil. As minister for war he had a heavy task; the French armies engaged in the War of the Austrian Succession were disorganized, and the retreat from Prague had produced a disastrous effect. After consulting with Marshal Saxe, he began the reform of the new armies. To assist recruiting, he revived the old institution of local militias, which, however, did not come up to his expectation. In the spring of 1744 three armies were able to resume the offensive in the Netherlands, Germany and Italy, and in the following year France won the battle of Fontenoy, at which d’Argenson was present. After the peace in 1748 he occupied himself with the important work of recasting the French army on the model of the Prussian. He unified the types of cannon, grouped the grenadiers into separate regiments, and founded the École Militaire for the training of officers (1751). An edict of the 1st of November 1751 granted patents of nobility to all who had the rank of general officer. In addition to his duties as minister of war he had the supervision of the printing, postal administration and general administration of Paris. He was responsible for the arrangement of the promenade of the Champs Élysées and for the plan of the present Place de la Concorde. He was exceedingly popular, and, although the court favourites hated him, he had the support of the king. Nevertheless, after the attempt of R. F. Damiens to assassinate the king, Louis abandoned d’Argenson to the machinations of the court favourites and dismissed both him and his colleague, J. B. de Machault d’Arnouville (February 1757). D’Argenson was exiled to his estates at Les Ormes near Saumur, but he had previously found posts for his brother, the marquis d’Argenson, as minister of foreign affairs, for his son Marc René as master of the horse, and for his nephew Marc Antoine René as commissary of war. From the time of his exile he lived in the society of savants and philosophers. He had been elected member of the Académie des Inscriptions in 1749. Diderot and d’Alembert dedicated the Encyclopédie to him, and Voltaire, C. J. F. Hénault, and J. F. Marmontel openly visited him in his exile. After the death of Madame de Pompadour he obtained permission to return to Paris, and died a few days after his return, on the 22nd of August 1764.

Marc Antoine René de Voyer, marquis de Paulmy d’Argenson (1722-1787), nephew of the preceding and son of René Louis, was born at Valenciennes on the 22nd of November 1722. Appointed councillor at the parlement (1744), and maître des requêtes (1747), he was associated with his father in the ministry of foreign affairs and with his uncle in the ministry of war, and, in recognition of this experience, was commissioned to inspect the troops and fortifications and sent on embassy to Switzerland (1748). In 1751 his uncle recognized him as his deputy and made over to him the reversion of the secretariate of war. He then worked on the great reform of the army, and after the dismissal of his uncle became minister of war (February 1757). But the outbreak of the Seven Years’ War made this post exceedingly difficult to hold, and he resigned on the 23rd of March 1758. He was ambassador to Poland from 1762 to 1764, but failed to procure the nomination of the French candidate to that throne. From 1766 to 1770 he was ambassador at Venice. Failing to obtain the embassy at Rome, he retired at the age of forty-eight and devoted the rest of his life to indulging his tastes for history and biography. He brought together a large library, very rich in French poetry and romance, and undertook various publications with the help of his librarian. In 1775 he began his Bibliothèque universelle des romans, of which forty volumes appeared within three years, but subsequently handed over the publication to other editors. His great work, Mélanges tirés d’une grande bibliothèque, was published in 65 volumes (Paris, 1779-1788). At his death he forbade his library to be dispersed: it was bought by the comte d’Artois (afterwards Charles X.) and formed the nucleus of the present Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal at Paris (the marquis having been governor of the arsenal). He died on the 13th of August 1787.

See contemporary memoirs; also Dacier’s eulogium in the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (November 1788); and Sainte-Beuve, Causeries du lundi (vol. xii.).

Marc René, marquis de Voyer de Paulmy d’Argenson (1721-1782), known as the marquis de Voyer, son of Marc Pierre de Voyer, the minister of war, was born in Paris on the 20th of September 1721. He served in the army of Italy and the army of Flanders in the War of the Austrian Succession, and was mestre de camp (proprietary colonel) of the regiment of Berry cavalry at the battle of Fontenoy (May 10, 1745), where he was promoted brigadier. He was associated with his father in his work of reorganizing the army, was made inspector of cavalry and dragoons (1749), and succeeded his father as master of the horse (1752). He introduced English horses into France. He was lieutenant-general of Upper Alsace in 1753 and governor of Vincennes in 1754, and served afterwards under Soubise in the Seven Years’ War. He was wounded at Crefeld in 1758, and was promoted lieutenant-general (1759). He followed his father into exile at Les Ormes (1763), and in the last years of the reign of Louis XV. sided with the malcontents headed by Choiseul; but on the rupture with England he rejoined the service of the king (1775). He was appointed inspector of the sea-board, and put the roadstead of the island of Aix in a state of defence during the American War of Independence. He caught marsh-fever while attempting to drain the marshes of Rochefort, and died at Les Ormes on the 18th of September 1782.

Marc René Marie de Voyer de Paulmy, marquis d’Argenson (1771-1842), son of the preceding, was born in Paris in September 1771. He was brought up by his father’s cousin, the marquis de Paulmy, governor of the arsenal, and was made lieutenant of dragoons in 1789. Although, at the age of eighteen, he had succeeded to several estates and a large fortune, he embraced the revolutionary cause, joining the army of the North as Lafayette’s aide-de-camp and remaining with it even after Lafayette’s defection. Leaving France to take one of his sisters to England, he was denounced on his return as a royalist conspirator, on the charge of having in his possession portraits of the royal family. He then went to live in Touraine, married